When BHP set its aspirational goal to achieve gender balance by 2025, we knew the benefits would far outweigh any difficulties we encountered. This was something we had to do – for the good of the business, our people and the communities in which we operate.
What we have learnt over the past three years has not only reinforced our commitment with solid data, it has intensified our resolve to get there.
We, like others, have found our most inclusive and diverse teams deliver safety benefits, have a better culture and are more productive than other teams. It has created a more harmonious environment and made BHP a more attractive place to work for all employees, regardless of gender.
Put simply, it has helped make BHP a better business.
We still have a long way to go to achieve our goal, and we are determined to maintain momentum. This transformation of our workforce will deliver value for BHP over the long term.
BHP operates in what has been a traditionally male-dominated industry where the work is often in remote areas. When we made our gender balance commitment in 2016, 17.6 per cent of our employees were female, around one in six employees.
We have added 2,070 women to our payroll since the start of FY2017. This includes 1,156 women in the last financial year. Today, almost one in four BHP employees is female (24.5 per cent).
We have also seen strong gains in other areas.
While the external hiring ratio – the proportion of females we employ to males – is important (37.7 per cent in the last financial year), it is equally important that female employees stay with us once they join the Company. This sparked a reassessment of our workplace culture to make sure inclusive and appropriate work practices are consistently applied across the organisation so that everyone feels valued, empowered and excited to work for us.
At 6.2 per cent, the voluntary turnover of women remains higher than the rate for men (at 4.9 per cent), but we have reduced this gap by more than half in the last financial year. I’m encouraged by this result as it shows our actions have made a difference.
So, what are the benefits?
Our data clearly shows our most inclusive and diverse teams outperform other teams. They:
- deliver safety benefits, with a 67 per cent lower Total Recordable Injury Frequency;
- have a better culture, with a 21 per cent greater sense of pride in working for BHP; and
- are more productive, with up to 11 per cent better adherence to work schedules.
People in diverse teams are also more likely to speak up (up to 68 per cent more likely), share ideas, work together to solve problems and make better decisions.
We want BHP to be a place where everyone is respected and valued and an enjoyable and inclusive place to work. Our aspirational goal of gender balance by 2025 is only a part of this equation, but a hugely important one. It provides enormous business, workplace and community benefits.
We will provide updates on our progress as we work toward this goal.