Women In Mining
Only 18% of jobs in the mining sector are filled by women – a statistic that the industry is keen to change. With a national mining skills shortage, women represent a significant untapped source of labour, from unskilled right through to senior professionals.
Mining companies see a number of benefits in women working in their sector – greater balance, an improvement in social responsibility and an increase in business productivity.
But mining life is not easy. Long shifts can take their toll on working mums and living away from the family can put pressure on relationships. On the other hand, the chances for rapid career advancement and excellent remuneration are making many women consider mining.
To make the choice a little easier, companies are addressing the most common needs of working women: flexible work packages ranging from job sharing to tele-commuting and working from home; parent friendly rosters; on-site childcare and breast feeding facilities; extended maternity leave…even appropriately designed uniforms. These opportunities are site specific and only offered where possible. Wherever possible, mining companies try to find employment for spouses, to make the transition easier.
There are no boundaries for women in mining. Science graduates can look forward to highly-paid roles in geology, surveying, engineering and environmental management, while and business and IT graduates find roles in management, accounting, project management, database management and systems support.
There are also a raft of trade and “hard hat roles” from electricians and boilermakers to bulldozer and forklift drivers – even unskilled employees can gain a foothold in Australia’s most exciting industry, in areas including data gathering and processing, cleaning, catering and office administration.
If you are up to the challenge, then the mining industry will be delighted to welcome you.
“Remaining contemporary in our approach to employment is assisting Xstrata Copper in the resources boom by attracting women into our workforce and enabling us to share opportunities and wealth with whole community.” – Mike Westerman, General Manager Mount Isa Copper Operations Xstrata Copper.
“It’s encouraging that there are more opportunities in the mining industry for women to progress to supervisory or managerial roles. Employing more women has not only made the workplace more balanced and socially responsible, but also greatly countered the growing skills shortage in the region.” – Andrew Woodley, General Manager Operations, Rio Tinto Hail Creek Mine.