Two women in protective equipment stand next to each other, smiling.

Changing the way we recruit at Escondida

A plan designed to increase female representation at our Escondida operation in Chile is changing the way we approach recruitment, especially for technical roles. 

With inclusion and diversity recognised as a key driver of productivity and safety, the Employability Plan is helping to proactively recruit women for technical roles within the operation.

For 30 years, Escondida´s workforce has been predominantly male, however steady progress is now being made with female representation rising from just 7 per cent in FY2016. 

The focus of the plan has been on training women with the interest, passion and desire to be part of the mining industry, rather than only hiring women who already possess the relevant technical skills.

The plan includes a number of strategies and programs designed to enable women to gain the technical skills they need, including an initial training program, a trades training program and an alliance with local contractors to increase their representation of women. 

It begins with an open call to interested women to participate in the program. Candidates are evaluated through an interview process with successful applicants commencing 3-4 months training at CEIM (Industrial and Mining Training Centre) under the supervision of the Technical Training team. 

Once the course is complete, candidates commence as trainees to gain the practical skills they need to work at Escondida. This is for a period of six months initially, with the option of renewing for an additional six months. 

At the end of the process, candidates are evaluated based on performance and cultural alignment, and appointed to an appropriate role in the company. 

Since the program began, the average number of applications received for each course has been around 1,400.  In FY2022, 132 women participated in the training at CEIM with 126 successfully completing their training as operators and maintainers of concentrator plants, extraction truck operators, and electrical and mechanical maintainers. 

The program has also seen representation of women from diverse ethnic and Indigenous communities. 

In FY2022, more than 100 women are trainees at Escondida which represents an 80 per cent success rate in the learning model and selection process. They work in Escondida’s concentrator plant, mine maintenance and mine operations, increasing the diversity of our teams.

Government authorities are aware of the impact of the program and our commitment to improving diversity, inclusion and quality of life in the communities in which we operate. 

We’re also continuing to encourage local female employment with local contractors who do not currently exceed 10 per cent female representation. This is a great opportunity to build more prosperous communities and generate social value.