30 October 2013

AUSTRALIA’s resource industry employer group AMMA will tomorrow launch a national education campaign designed to boost competitiveness, productivity and economic growth through increased women’s participation in the mining, energy and allied construction sectors.

Through AMMA’s government-partnered initiative the Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA), the campaign promotes ‘top-down’ leadership towards greater gender diversity, backed by tools and information through its Way Forward Guides and Gender Diversity Capability Workshops.

The first Gender Diversity Capability Workshop will be held in Brisbane on Thursday 31 October, followed by Newcastle, Darwin, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne throughout November and December.

“The AWRA Way Forward Guides and workshops provide the resource industry’s first end-to-end toolkit of practical business strategies to assist employers to attract and retain women workers,” says AMMA chief executive Steve Knott.

“Securing further resource investment lies in our ability to build more competitive and productive workforces, but with women’s participation at just 15.5%, the resource industry is selling itself short.

“While resource operations represent more than 10% of Australia’s GDP, the industry stands to deliver significantly greater economic returns if we can unlock the long-term potential of women workers.

“This national education campaign assists HR professionals to build a compelling business case for gender diversity and shore up organisational support and executive leadership toward this vision.

“AWRA is helping resource employers break down traditional barriers to female participation, covering everything from attraction and recruitment to culture, mentoring and work-life balance.”

The guides contain several case studies highlighting diversity success in the resource industry, such as:

  • Anglo American Metallurgical Coal’s innovative recruitment campaign promoting their top female talent to achieve a ‘pipeline’ target of 75% women among new recruits;
  • Caltex’s BabyCare initiative designed to increase staff retention by providing financial and practical support for new parents returning to work; and
  • A career development partnership between OZ Minerals and Beach Energy providing strategic training and development opportunities to assist women toward their career goals.

“These case studies show some resource organisations are already pioneering the diversity business case. However, Australia was last week ranked outside the top 20 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, so clearly there is much work still to be done,” Mr Knott says.

“Australia is smashing gender inequality when it comes to the high level of women in tertiary education, but we are failing to reap the return on this investment with below-par rates of labour force participation.

“This type of change must be driven from the top of an organisation and workforce inclusion must play a central role in normal business practice. By helping employers implement these strategies, we hope to see women’s participation in the resource industry exceed 25% by 2020.”

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