Women, mining's next great resource?

According to the new EY report, “Has mining discovered its next great resource?” produced in collaboration with Women in Mining (UK), women hold just 35 (9%) of 377 board positions among the top 30 mining and metals companies
Women, mining's next great resource? Women, mining's next great resource? Women, mining's next great resource? Women, mining's next great resource? Women, mining's next great resource?

Staff reporter

EY said its research has also shown that only 56% of survey respondents from across industries believe their organisation is effective at identifying, retaining and promoting female leaders, and 55% agree their company could do more to improve gender diversity.

The report details seven guiding principles to help advance women into leadership across the sector.

Nichole McCulloch, managing director of Women in Mining (UK), explained: “The principles identified in the report provide mining companies of all sizes with easily implementable ideas that will encourage women’s advancement within their organisations.”

The principles identified are:

Lead with sponsorship, support with mentoring: Active sponsorship provides women with access to development opportunities that are not otherwise available, while mentorship ensures they are supported when pursuing these opportunities.

Nominate leaders to lead the programme: The initiatives that most effectively promote the progression of women are driven by senior management. Buy-in from senior leadership improves funding, endorses inclusive best practices and draws management participation.

Encourage talent at all career stages: Advancing more women into leadership roles requires support at all career stages. Having systems to identify motivated individuals at all levels helps to maintain the talent pool of women and identify those who may require additional support.

Overcome the geographic disparity roadblock: Mining and metals companies face the unique challenge of attracting talent to remote operations. Geographic barriers make inclusive development initiatives even more essential to ensure individuals feel connected to the larger organisation and potential career opportunities. Trialling ideas in one location or region and leveraging technology to improve communications are two ways mining and metals companies can overcome this roadblock.

Measure the results: To build a strong platform for progress and showcase the business impact of gender diversity, mining and metals companies must first develop a benchmark for which to measure against and identify key performance indicators to measure progress.

Empower women to help themselves: Mining and metals companies can empower women by providing mentoring tools and access to role models and sector groups. High-performing individuals will seek these tools, as well as the opportunities and encouragement they need to set their career on the right path.

Keep it low cost: Research shows that having more women at board level improves business performance, but in today’s current economic environment, investment in gender diversity programmes is often met with resistance. Not all programmes need to come with a steep price tag, however. Mining and metals companies should consider combining individual mentoring with existing HR-driven group development sessions, or identify external organisations that facilitate networking or mentoring.

Zweig, EY’s global Mining & Metals leader, said: “Gender equality is in reach for mining and metals companies that set the right objectives to impact real change in the same spirit they address other pressing business challenges. The time for talk alone has passed. Navigating disruption now and in the future requires deliberate action, today.”
Read the full report here.