The commercial case for improving diversity is compelling. BHP’s most inclusive and gender diverse operations have outperformed our average on a range of measures, including lower injury rates, adherence to work plans and meeting production targets.
This change will not happen overnight, but we are making cultural, operational and process changes that we need to bring us closer to a balanced and inclusive workplace. Some examples of the initiatives underway at our assets, and the changes they are creating, are outlined below.
Our first female shovel operator at Escondida
Cristina Ledezma González is an extraction equipment operator at Minera Escondida. Cristina is qualified to operate electro-mechanical shovels, which requires high levels of technical skill and knowledge.
Since starting with BHP 13 years ago, BHP has supported Cristina to work towards her goal of operating high-tonnage machinery. Through a structured career development plan and with the support of her managers, Cristina is contributing to breaking down traditional gender divides at BHP and making a high-value contribution to our operations.
Attracting diverse trainees at Mt Arthur Coal
Mt Arthur Coal decided to introduce a trainee program, rather than look for experienced hires to fill operator roles. This was an opportunity to source candidates who might not otherwise have taken up opportunities in the mining industry, particularly female and Indigenous trainees.
Mt Arthur Coal focused on candidate attitude and behaviour over prior work experience in the recruitment process, and designed the training program with enough time to allow for developing all the skills and experience required, including supporting the trainees in adjusting to shift work.
Since February 2017, over 113 trainees have commenced their traineeship with 69 (61 per cent) female participation and 28 (24.8 per cent) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation. The Program was a finalist in the New South Wales Women in Mining Awards Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance.
A diverse contractor workforce
Building a more diverse workforce through engagement with our contractors and labour suppliers is an important part of our inclusion and diversity strategy. Over 60 per cent of our workforce are contractors, and we work with around 9,000 suppliers of contract and other services, including labour suppliers.
Our Supply function works closely with those suppliers to provide incentives and support for them to increase the diversity of the workforces they are able to make available to BHP. This has resulted in a three per cent increase in female labour hire contractors across Australia since September 2017. Olympic Dam in South Australia saw a 12.7 per cent increase in female contractor participation in the 12 months prior to May 2018.