Diversity a Key Driver for Smart METS and Miners
Christine Gibbs Stewart, CEO, Austmine
Austmine is proud to support International Women’s Day, taking place this Thursday 8th March 2018. This is an opportunity for METS companies to put gender equality on the agenda and reflect on the diversity within our own businesses.
Along with ongoing transformation through technological change and the growing concern over the sustainability of mining, the topic of people has emerged as the major focus for the mining industry. Discussions with business leaders over the last 12 – 18 months have made it abundantly clear that recruiting and retaining skilled staff remains their greatest concern, particularly companies with an innovative mindset, who are seeking to facilitate new ideas and solutions through diverse teams.
This was reflected in numerous presentations from last year’s Austmine 2017: Mining’s Innovation Imperative conference & exhibition and the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC). Throughout days of presentations and discussions, industry leaders from companies such as BHP, Rio Tinto and Oz Minerals pointed towards creating teams with different skill sets, backgrounds, age, gender, ethnicities and life experiences as the key to unlocking their innovation potential. This will be the key driver for combatting and solving some of mining’s most pressing challenges, including improving productivity, driving operational efficiencies and integrating new technologies. Furthermore, diversity contributes to an organisation’s agility and adaptability to what is now a rapidly changing business environment. The flow-on effects over the longer-term will be, no doubt, improved competitiveness.
It is great to see gender diversity on the agenda, but this must translate into increased action. Moving forward, METS businesses must have a plan to drive diversity internally, not only to remain competitive, but to be seen as strategic suppliers who embody the same values as their buyers.
At Austmine, we have undertaken a number of initiatives to highlight the importance of diversity and help the industry move in a new direction.
In 2017, we launched the Austmine Women in STEM: METS Career Pathway Program, supported by METS Ignited. This program aims to raise awareness of METS and the career opportunities provided by our sector, across women studying STEM subjects at university. Female students recently completed internships with 27 host companies in the METS sector through this program. Companies including Sandvik, PwC, Hastings Deering, Deswik, G&G Mining Fabrication, Jennmar, Global IO and the Geological Survey of NSW have employed their intern for further work following the completion of the program, and a full report on outcomes will become available in the next few weeks. This program will return in 2018.
Our End of Year Networking Events in Brisbane, Perth and Sydney also put diversity on the agenda, with METS and miners coming together to explore “diversity of thought.” Discussion groups provided a great starting point for business owners and managers to consider the gender balance within their organisation and to learn about strategies, methodologies and systems for improving this from others in the room.
Finally, our industry presentations and networking events have provided an opportunity for METS leaders to hear from miners about their focus on diversity. From our recent event with Sharna Glover, Manager Coal Technology Partnership at BHP in Brisbane, she had a powerful message METS companies looking to do business with BHP: “When we look at partner companies, we now drive hard that your diversity needs to start to reflect our diversity.” This shows that miners are serious about championing diversity to improve operations, and our members must also take this approach.
Austmine would love to hear your success stories and strategies surrounding improving diversity within your organisation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to provide this information to us and we will circulate your success to our network!