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Women in the Resources Industry – The Challenges of Attraction and Retention Miriam Lyons-Stanborough Women in Mining Network, Australasian Institute of.

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Presentation on theme: "Women in the Resources Industry – The Challenges of Attraction and Retention Miriam Lyons-Stanborough Women in Mining Network, Australasian Institute of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Women in the Resources Industry – The Challenges of Attraction and Retention Miriam Lyons-Stanborough Women in Mining Network, Australasian Institute of Mining & Metallurgy Alcoa Business System Manager, Pinjarra Refinery, Alcoa of Australia AMMA National Conference Perth, March 22, 2007

2 Statistics Women comprise: ~45% of national workforce ~18% of mining industry workforce ~18% of technical & professional mining workforce ~3% of site-based mining workforce National workforce gender pay gap 19% Mining industry gender pay gap 28%

3 Benefits of workforce gender diversity Increasingly part of social licence to operate Exposure to larger talent pool Reduced employee turnover Critical mass of females attracts more females Improved workplace behaviours Improved decision-making Continuous improvement via challenging of norms & status quo Improved safety & equipment condition.

4 Why women enter the Mining sector Strong maths/science performers at school drawn to engineering & earth sciences courses at university Most mining qualifications internationally recognised Attraction to remote/bush lifestyle Family history of mining employment – familiarity with industry Technical challenges Impressed by scale of industry in Australia Preference for non-office-based work environment Geographical reasons – reside in regional areas where mining is dominant employer High comparative wages.

5 Why women avoid the mining sector Remote environments exacerbate social isolation for minorities Discouraged by male-dominated industry Unattractive work environment Incompatibilities with raising a family Few female role models Lack of knowledge of industry and diversity of roles available.

6 Why women stay in the mining sector High comparative incomes Partner works for same or related employer Some shift rosters are compatible with family responsibilities (particularly if partner is on opposing shift or good childcare support available) Genuine enjoyment of work content & conditions Inclusive work culture with advancement opportunities.

7 Why women leave the mining sector – early in careers Unprepared for work environment Uncomfortable with masculine workplace Onerous work responsibilities Desire for city-based job with better social life Long working hours Injuries Barriers to promotion No critical mass of women for support networks & inclusive work environment Harassment & discrimination.

8 Why women leave the mining sector – mid-career Raising a family: FIFO not compatible with child-rearing part-time or job-share work options not available or suitable shift rosters not compatible with child-care responsibilities no childcare available during required work hours Inadequate medical facilities in remote locations no employer support for work/family balance no paid maternity/paternity leave no breastmilk expressing facilities provided no flexible work hours to allow attendance at school events etc no contact with employees whilst on maternity leave no family support available in remote locations unable to start family due to own or partners shift roster.

9 Attraction Initiatives Make female role models highly visible – in recruitment ads, website, school visits etc School-based entry-level programs Increase availability of university vacation work places Offer variety of commute options – FIFO, residential, telecommuting Relocation policies cover family as well as employee, including employment options Employ locally – target women in local community (many of whom may be spouses of existing employees) Be innovative with shift options – permanent part-time shifts Promote flexible work practices – EOWA Employer of Choice for Women Awards.

10 Retention Initiatives Passionate promotion of gender diversity by senior leaders Part-time work provisions Work-from-home provisions Job-share provisions Publicise successful flexible arrangements internally Establish formal support networks for women Paid & unpaid maternity leave – best practice 13 weeks full pay Paid paternity leave Childcare – variety of high-quality childcare options available close to site or employees homes for all hours of work Train all supervisory staff in EEO & flexible work policies, and measure their application of these policies Ergonomic workplace modifications to suit smaller & weaker employees Provide good-fitting safety gear & clothing Mentoring programs – company & industry-based.

11 Useful References AusIMM Women in Mining Network Links to many articles including Catherine Pattendens landmark 1998 Women in Mining report Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency Policy & research, plus citations for companies awarded Employer of Choice for Women status Gender pay equity Alcoa of Australia Information on the Future Women of Industry and other employment programs Minerals Council of Australia Queensland Resources Council


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