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Women in Resources National Awards

Two winners of the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia’s (CME) Women in Resources Awards held earlier this year were announced as winners at the inaugural Women in Resources National Awards held in Brisbane.

Stuart Forrester (Operations Manager, Iluka Resources Narngulu Operations) was announced as the Gender Diversity Champion in Australian Resources and the national Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance award was won by St Barbara Limited for their Eliminating the Gender Pay Gap program.

“This is an outstanding achievement for Stuart and St Barbara. By recognising company initiatives and outstanding individuals such as these, the Women in Resources National Awards inspire others to grow the number of women working in the resources sector,” said CME Chief Executive Reg Howard-Smith.

Winners from CME’s five awards were eligible for the five national categories.

CME research shows women account for 20% of the resources sector’s total workforce, while the female participation rate across all industries stands at 43%.

“Resources companies have recognised the strong business case for having diverse teams.  Extensive research has shown increased diversity correlates strongly with improved company performance. Put simply, diversity builds stronger and more prosperous companies,” said Mr Howard-Smith.

The other winners announced were:

  • Exceptional Woman in Australian Resources: Laura Tyler, BHP Billiton (Queensland).
  • Outstanding Australian tradeswoman, operator or technician: Katherine George, Total Instrument Controls (Tasmania)
  • Exceptional Young Woman in Australian Resources: Cindy Emmett, Anglo Australian (Queensland)  

Background Information

2014 Gender Diversity Champion in Australian Resources – Stuart Forrester (Iluka Resources)

Stuart's passion for diversity comes from his belief that a diverse team creates a challenging workplace facilitating flexibility and driving growth through differing values, skill sets and backgrounds.   He believes when you employ the right person, it is much easier and takes less time to up-skill people than to change people's values and behaviours.

Stuart facilitated a fundamental change to the way Iluka approaches recruitment. Job criteria were amended to attract people without previous mining experience. Given it is difficult to pick up on values and standards of behaviours when reading a resume, it was necessary to broaden the scope of the pool of interviewees. The interview process was modified to include questions that explored applicants' commitment, integrity and responsibility, aligning with Iluka's key values.

Up-skilling people who came into the business with no previous experience became a priority, so Stuart improved Iluka’s training systems to meet the needs of new recruits who had the right values and behaviours, but required more training to carry out their jobs.

By adopting a new approach to recruitment, the number of female employees at Iluka's Narngulu operation increased from 16.5% in 2012 to 25.4% in 2013 and from zero to 20% in operations crews over the past three years. Instead of one demographic with similar backgrounds reinforcing certain dominant behaviours, Narngulu now has male, female and Indigenous employees of different ages from a range of backgrounds, expertise and experience and a more consistent and higher standard of behaviours.

Stuart’s commitment is also reflected in the work he has been undertaking with the Clontarf Academy and more recently the SHINE program, an education program established in Western Australia.

2014 Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance in Australian Resources – St Barbara Mining Ltd: Eliminating the Gender Pay Gap

St Barbara has implemented a systematic and sustainable approach to reduce the pay equity gap.  Six years ago the Human Resources (HR) practices at St Barbara were transactional, consisting mostly of recruitment with no linkage to the business strategy. A remuneration strategy did not exist and the pay equity gap was 43%.

From a standing-start in 2007, St Barbara now has in place a HR Strategy that is hard-wired to the company’s business strategy and approved by the Board. The success of each of the six strategic HR priorities is underpinned by diversity. To support these priorities a comprehensive Talent Management Framework has been implemented.  Consistent with the strategic HR priorities, in respect of gender diversity, St Barbara now has:

  • a competitive and effective remuneration system;
  • industry-leading parental leave provisions including attractive return to work incentives;
  • a gender diversity policy; and
  • robust gender diversity targets to measure success.

These initiatives are approved by the Board, led by the Executive Leadership Team, and reviewed regularly by the Board.  The gap has reduced from 43% in 2007 to 15.9% in 2013 and 11.7% in 2014.