At Premium Mechanical Group, we have been thrilled to see an exponential increase in the number of women joining the mining industry over the last few years. As of May 2021, women now make up 20% of the Australian mining workforce. Every year, the gender diversity of the industry improves.
So, what is gender diversity?
If a workplace has an equitable ratio of men and women, and both genders are fairly represented across all business sectors, it is considered gender diverse.
Gender diverse workplaces often prioritise equal pay for both genders, educate their employees about unconscious bias, provide support for mothers and parents, actively reject gender discrimination, and consider diversity in their hiring practices.
When it comes to chatting about women’s experience in mining, why not go straight to the source? Statistics and figures can be very useful, but they don’t necessarily communicate the difference that working in an inclusive, diverse environment can make for women in the industry.
Therefore, we caught up with Field Service Heavy Duty Diesel Mechanic Shannan and HR Manager Jacelyn to discuss the importance of gender diversity and their personal experience within the industry and at Premium Mechanical. Let’s take a look at their thoughts…
1. What kinds of roles do women hold at Premium Mechanical Group?
Both Shannan and Jacelyn confirmed that women work in all sectors of Premium Mechanical Group, from management through to tradespeople, and it is very exciting to see. Shannan and Jacelyn are perfect examples of this, with Shannan working in the field as a heavy-duty diesel mechanic, and Jacelyn based in Perth as the Human Resources manager.
2. In your time in mining, have you seen an increase in the number of women in the industry?
Jacelyn reported that there has always been a core value of gender diversity in her time at Premium Mechanical Group. From her perspective, this is something that is consistently growing in the industry. Shannan agreed that from all accounts, she has seen a significant improvement in the industry and PREMIUM’s high level of diversity is exemplary of the direction that the whole industry is headed.
3. What advice would you offer females who may be hesitant to enter the industry?
Speaking from her experience as a heavy-duty diesel mechanic, Shannan wants to ensure that women interested in joining the mining industry know what a great community is formed on site. Shannan expressed that when everyone is doing the hard yards together and working towards a common goal, a real sense of unity is fostered, and perceptions of gender difference simply don’t come up. She also found that there’s always been excellent support for anyone struggling with remoteness or isolation within her work groups.
At the end of the day, Shannan feels she’s never been treated differently to the men on her Premium team. However, she recognises that this isn’t the case for everyone across the industry and understands why people may be hesitant when they are on the outside looking in. For this reason, Shannan also wanted to share with women in mining the advice that if you don’t get out of your comfort zone, you will never know what you are capable of achieving. It may seem daunting to enter a male-dominated industry, but don’t let this stop you from doing work you are passionate about.
Jacelyn echoed this sentiment, acknowledging the bad reputation that the mining industry has had in the past. However, Jacelyn encourages women to look into the major shifts in diversity in the industry in the past decade. She advises women to investigate all the doors that the industry can open and that there are so many more opportunities for growth than they may have ever thought possible.
4. What kinds of changes would you like to see other mining companies make to improve gender diversity?
With expertise in this area, as the Human Resources Manager, Jacelyn advises that it all comes down to company culture. She explains that it is essential for other companies to build and sustain a gender diverse workplace by starting with inclusive hiring processes and continuing to empower all employees regardless of their age, gender, race, or background.
How can companies achieve this? At Premium Mechanical Group, Jacelyn explains, there is a focus on equal opportunities for all, not only in terms of equal rights but also equal responsibilities, prospects, and remuneration. By prioritising creating a supportive workplace culture, PREMIUM allows all employees to collaborate equally and feel they have a voice to share ideas openly. This is fostered by having zero tolerance for anything except fair treatment and respect. Other companies need to focus solely on results and performance, with a firm belief in ‘fair play, fair pay.’
From Shannan’s perspective, the intention behind companies pushing for diversity is incredibly important. She sees that many companies are perhaps only focusing on improving diversity for publicity reasons. Therefore, Shannan encourages companies to instead look at diversity from both sides. Giving women in field roles special treatment or ‘making a show of diversity’ can actually ostracise women from their peers. Instead, it’s better to inspire a workplace culture of acceptance that focuses only on results, work ethic and technical ability. Shannan says that Premium Mechanical Group highlights excellent performance rather than the minority groups they’ve employed, which sets them apart.
5. What are the benefits of diversity at Premium Mechanical?
Shannan and Jacelyn agree that the benefits of diversity are undeniable within their workplaces.
Jacelyn has witnessed that PREMIUM women always contribute multidimensional ways of thinking and bring new ideas to the work environment. Within her experience, Shannan can clearly see that women provide a more well-rounded and effective team, and offer new perspectives on how to improve operations that may not have surfaced in the past.
Contact Premium Mechanical Group to Explore Jobs in the Mines for Females
Unfortunately, there remains a perception that the mining industry is not an inclusive environment for women. At Premium Mechanical, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Also, in the most recent Women in Mining Survey, conducted by AUSIMM, one of the most notable findings was that women found their own workplaces were “significantly more inclusive than their perception of the broader resources sector.” Essentially, this means that the actual onsite experience of women has improved far beyond the widespread public negative perception.
A career in mining can lead to so many exciting opportunities, from travel to leadership. Don’t let misinformation stop you from exploring the possibilities. Check out the recent Women in Mining Survey, to hear from women in the industry for yourself.
If you are interested in exploring mining jobs for women, including FIFO and DIDO jobs, but you aren’t sure where to start, just give our team a call on 08 9314 7182.