Sunday, November 25, 2012

Why so few women in mining?

The U.S. mining industry needs to pay attention to a report from Carleton University's Centre for Women in Politics and Public Leadership.

Their new study finds that the Canadian mining industry will require 45,760 new people by 2016 and 75,280 new workers by 2021, but "despite the looming labour shortage, women remain underrepresented in all of the industry’s employment opportunities, from entrance positions to leadership posts. In fact, women’s employment in the mining industry... is very low compared to other key economic sectors."   [Photo credit, Women in Mining]

A review of the problems and their causes suggests that the U.S. mining industry probably has similar problems.

"The Canadian mining industry provides an important contribution to Canada’s economy, accounting for 4.5% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 23% of Canadian exports in 2011. Moving forward, however, the industry faces key challenges, such as serious labour shortages due to an aging workforce, requiring strong recruitment of new talent.  However, as of 2006, female employees represented only 5% of workers in such occupations in the industry suggesting additional barriers for female participation other than the labour shortage of women in the industry."

Among the key conclusions are that " and demand arguments, that consider women’s underpresentation to be simply as a result of a smaller talent pool, are not correct. More specifically, the traditionally male-dominated workplace culture and its infusion into working values and styles, as well as communication practices, and lack of support for managing family responsibilities, pose key obstacles for women’s advancement to executive positions."

The Carleton report identifies findings, best practices, and recommendations that demand the attention and action of all of us who are running organizations that need the best and brightest.

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