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Challenging Operating Environment Drives Focus on Diversity

Improving workforce diversity continues to be a focus for the Western Australian resources sector even during tough market conditions.

Findings from the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia’s (CME) Diversity Survey show women make up 18 per cent of the Western Australian resources sector workforce.  This represents a fall of 1 per cent between 2013 and 2015.

“Given women make up 44 per cent of the total workforce in WA this continues to be a significant underrepresentation. It is however reassuring to see given the current climate and decrease in employment that there has not been a significant negative change,” said CME Chief Executive Reg Howard-Smith.

The decrease in female participation is mainly in management, clerical and administrative roles. Regardless of gender, these roles have been recently impacted as industry responds to changing commodity prices.

“It was pleasing to see the percentage of female technicians, machine operator and trades-people actually increasing.  In positive signs for the future 26 per cent of apprentices, trainees and graduates are female, an increase since 2013.

The survey also found Indigenous participation in the sector has increased to 5.5 per cent up from 4.2 per cent in 2013. 

“This result is particularly pleasing given the reduction in employment numbers across the sector.  The resources sector clearly maintains the mantle of largest employer of Indigenous Australian,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

“Whilst the survey provides some mixed results it is important for industry to examine the findings, take stock and respond to ensure workforce diversity continues to grow and to be a priority issue,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

As part of the focus on workforce diversity, nominations are now open for CME’s 2016 Women in Resources Awards.

“There are many women, men and companies who are achieving great things in the sector to champion diversity and we want to celebrate and share their success,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

CME looks forward to receiving nominations for female employees who are making a positive impact in the resources sector as well as male employees and innovative companies who are leading the way in championing women in the resources sector.

The award categories are:

  • Women in Resources Champion
  • Outstanding Woman in Resources
  • Outstanding Young Woman in Resources
  • Outstanding Operator/Technician/Trade Woman
  • Outstanding Company Initiative

Entry is open to all Western Australian resources sector companies including contractors associated with the sector.  Nominations close Monday 9 November 2015.