AUSTRALIAN resource employers are making headway in improving workforce gender equality across a range of national indicators including remuneration and return-to-work bonuses for mothers, according to new federal government data.

A Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) analysis of 12,229 Australian employers released last week shows the gender pay gap in mining is 17.6%, compared to the average 24% across all industries.

Six sectors analysed by WGEA recorded a lower pay gap than mining, while 12 sectors have a higher pay gap.

Similarly, 34.3% of mining employers have conducted a pay gap analysis compared to the all industries average of 19.1%, and 17% offer return-to-work bonuses for new mothers compared to the 9.7% for all Australian employers.

Tara Diamond, AMMA executive director and spokesperson for the Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA), said the data is promising for Australia’s mining, oil and gas employers.

“These findings are encouraging for the resource industry as we continue to address our male-dominated culture and ensure our workforces more accurately reflect the demographics of the broader Australian community,” Ms Diamond said.

“As a high paying industry, it is particularly valuable for miners to focus on remuneration equality and return-to-work incentives. This will see the industry have a positive impact on average incomes and wealth distribution as we build on the number of women employed in mining.”

Despite the data’s positive results, the WGEA report also confirms there is much to be done if AWRA is to achieve its goal of women representing 25% of the resource industry workforce by 2020.

“Women currently represent just 16% of the mining workforce, with the majority (77.4%) holding administrative or clerical positions. This shows the industry must strengthen its focus on attracting, developing and retaining more women in non-traditional trades and technical roles at the ‘coal face’,” Ms Diamond said.

“With women holding just 2.6% of CEO roles and 12.3% of key management positions, it is critical that resource employers improve their internal policies, practices and cultures to better support women in leadership.”

AWRA has a range of toolkits and programs to assist resource employers, including assessment and benchmarking program, AWRA Recognisedand the AWRA e-Mentoring Program, which matches women with experienced mentors through a unique online portal.

Click here to explore the WGEA data on the mining sector.