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Opportunities for Women in Mining

Demand for Women in Mining Industry is Increasing

women-in-miningThe mining industry in Australia faces a critical shortage in skills even as the job growth level is set to increase. There are a lot of mining jobs for women but currently the jobs filled women are only 18% of the total. Increasing the women in mining workforce in the industry is key in addressing the current problem of skill shortage.

Most companies today are increasing mining jobs for women due to the realization that recruiting and retaining women is a significantly big opportunity to increase productivity in business.

It’s a fact that the resources industry in Australia suffers a big shortage of skilled labor. The rates for staff turnover for various roles in mining, oil, gas and energy jobs are said to be among the highest in Australia. While employers are competing with the US, Canada and South Africa for skilled and professional workers, a segment of the workforce is currently underutilized.

Of the total workforce in Australia 45% is represented by women, but the presence of women in mining and the resources industry is very low. It has been proven that companies that have women directors actually perform better than those that do not have any female on the board. This is why this needs to change and more mining jobs for women created. Nationally, closing the gap between male and female would in fact increase the country’s GDP by 11%.

Attracting Women into the Mining Workforce

mining-jobs-for-womenThe resources industry has evolved from those days of having male dominated roles. Technology advances has also ensured that brute strength no longer is the most important qualification to get a mining job. Jobs such as geologists, engineers and metallurgists are perfectly suitable for women and they are actually hardest to fill and in high demand as well. There is a higher number of women graduating from university than men, but the big puzzle is why they do not bother to join women in mining careers or even work with oil companies.

There is no clear answer but the perceptions of women and men concerning long term career viability needs to change. Mining jobs for women are there, but these jobs requirements often have a significant impact on women with families and their ability to get employment in a demanding position. Adding a FIFO roaster in the mix, makes most women believe that it is too difficult to have a balanced personal life and hold a resources job at the same time.

Jobs in the mining industry are normally characterized by hard physical labour, remote environments and long shifts at work. This greatly contributes to the low numbers of women in mining. Most companies today are trying to find ways of redressing these and many other issues that prevent women’s participation in the mining industry. Mining jobs for women opportunities are being improved through measures such as:

  • Onsite childcare

  • Great pay rates

  • Comfortable working conditions

  • Appropriate uniforms for female workers

  • Extended maternity leave

  • Flexible work packages

  • Parent-friendly work rosters

  • Breast-feeding facilities

  • Couples onsite housing

  • Gender-inclusive environments at work

Industry support for Mining Jobs for Women

Australia’s economy is one of the healthiest in the world and this is largely attributed to the resources industry. Leaders in the industry believe that the secret to solving the issue of skills shortage is creating more mining jobs for women and attracting more women to the sector.

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There are 2 competitive advantages for employers provided by the AWRA's goal of increasing women workers in the allied services, resources and construction sectors. These are workforce diversity strength and a bigger pool of workers to source from.  The AWRA initiative is spearheaded by the AMMA but it is a collaboration of all key stakeholders in the industry which include academia, industry associations, government, training and industry employers.

Effecting cultural change is a huge task but perceptions are slowly changing. Australia offers the highest salaries in the world for engineers. A woman with a job as an engineer can easily support her family alone, which would then allow her partner to handle the child care duties. Apart from creating more mining jobs for women, the industry’s focus is on solutions that are family-oriented to ensure that women remain active in the workforce.

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