Click the logo to download your  free PDF version

           Click the logo to download your  free PDF version


To purchase this space contact Gordon

As the world marks International Women’s Day, the increased participation of women in the Australian resources sector has been noted.

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) on Wednesday noted that women now made up a record 22% of the workforce in Queensland’s A$94.6-billion resources sector, up from almost 20% last year.

“At a time when every industry in Australia is competing for skilled workers, initiatives to make our sector more flexible, diverse and inclusive are opening new doors for women to join or remain in our workforce,” CEO Ian Macfarlane said.

In its latest gender diversity data report, the QRC noted that there was a 10% increase in the number of women working in non-traditional roles in the resources sector over the past financial year. Another stand-out result is the 18% increase in the number of women now working for mining and energy companies in trade roles. 

Macfarlane said the percentage of women employed in trade positions has risen by more than 450% over the past seven years, demonstrating women are interested in hands-on trade careers when given the opportunity. 

He said while companies are heading in the right direction, all agree there is more work to be done to hit the industry’s next target of 30% female participation by 2026. 

“Research by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has found more diverse workplaces are more productive, innovative and provide a more positive working environment for men and women, so resources companies are very motivated to continue down this path,” he said. 

In its own Diversity and Inclusion report, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME) noted that since 2013, the proportion of women in the Western Australian mining and resources workforce has increased from 18.8% to 21.5%.

“Since our last survey in 2019, there has been an increase in female participation of 1.3% and from 2015 the increase is nearly 3%. These increases have occurred while the sector’s overall workforce has continued to grow, including a 12.7% increase to more than 157 704 people since 2020,” said CME CEO Rebecca Tomkinson.

“From 2013 to 2021, the percentage of women working as machinery operators and drivers rose from 11% to 17%, the percentage of women in technician and trade roles grew from 7.5% to 11.4% and the percentage of female managers increased from 15% to 20.7%.

“It’s a similar story for women in board roles, which has increased from 11.1% in 2015 to 24.4%.

“But those numbers are still not high enough, and the vast majority of the boards in the Western Australian resources sector still comprise of more than 90% men. Our ultimate aim is for our workplaces to reflect our community and that means gender parity. We need to keep working towards that and increase the speed at which we get there.

“We know that improving the diversity and inclusivity of our workplaces makes them safer for everyone, and that’s a challenge we are very actively working to meet,” said Tomkinson.

Diversified miner BHP CEO Mike Henry this week noted that the company’s own endeavours towards equality were also paying off.

“While there is still so much to do to advance the position of women in society both here and abroad, I am proud that in recent years female participation in BHP’s workforce has doubled to over 33% and our executive management team is now fully gender-balanced,” he said this week.