Women occupy just 9% of board positions among top 30 global mining companies

London, 17 October 2016

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  • Women hold 35 of the 377 board positions of top miners by market capitalization
  • Gender diversity crucial to overcoming challenges across mining sector
  • EY and Women in Mining (UK) identify seven guiding principles to advance women into leadership

The global mining and metals sector has a long way to go to reach gender parity, according to the EY report, Has mining discovered its next great resource? produced in collaboration with Women in Mining (UK). Women hold just 35 (9%) of 377 board positions among the top 30 mining and metals companies by market capitalization.

Miguel Zweig, EY Global Mining & Metals Leader, says:

“Women have a significant role to play in the future of the global mining and metals industry, and yet they remain underrepresented. Mining and metals companies must a find way to address shortfalls in the talent pipeline to remain competitive in today’s volatile market.”

EY research shows that only 56% of survey respondents from across industries believe their organization is effective at identifying, retaining and promoting female leaders. And 55% agree their company could do more to improve gender diversity.

Through interviews with leading global mining companies, EY and WIM (UK) have identified seven guiding principles to advance women into leadership across the sector.

Nichole McCulloch, Managing Director of Women in Mining (UK), WIM (UK), says:

“The principles identified in the report provide mining companies of all sizes with easily implementable ideas that will encourage women’s advancement within their organizations. Women in Mining (UK) looks forward to continuing to work with mining executives to promote and progress women in the mining industry.”

The seven guiding principles identified are:

Lead with sponsorship, support with mentoring

Active sponsorship provides women with access to development opportunities that are not otherwise available, while mentorship ensures they are supported when pursuing these opportunities.

Nominate leaders to lead the program

The initiatives that most effectively promote the progression of women are driven by senior management. Buy-in from senior leadership improves funding, endorses inclusive best practices and draws management participation.

Encourage talent at all career stages

Advancing more women into leadership roles requires support at all career stages. Having systems to identify motivated individuals at all levels helps to maintain the talent pool of women and identify those who may require additional support.

Overcome the geographic disparity roadblock

Mining and metals companies face the unique challenge of attracting talent to remote operations. Geographic barriers make inclusive development initiatives even more essential to ensure individuals feel connected to the larger organization and potential career opportunities. Trialing ideas in one location or region and leveraging technology to improve communications are two ways mining and metals companies can overcome this roadblock.

Measure the results

To build a strong platform for progress — and showcase the business impact of gender diversity — mining and metals companies must first develop a benchmark for which to measure against and identify key performance indicators to measure progress.

Empower women to help themselves

Mining and metals companies can empower women by providing mentoring tools and access to role models and sector groups. High-performing individuals will seek these tools, as well as the opportunities and encouragement they need to set their career on the right path.

Keep it low cost

Research shows that having more women at board level improves business performance, but in today’s current economic environment, investment in gender diversity programs is often met with resistance. Not all programs need to come with a steep price tag, however. Mining and metals companies should consider combining individual mentoring with existing HR-driven group development sessions, or identify external organizations that facilitate networking or mentoring.

Zweig says: “Gender equality is in reach for mining and metals companies that set the right objectives to impact real change in the same spirit they address other pressing business challenges. The time for talk alone has passed. Navigating disruption now and in the future requires deliberate action, today.”


Notes to Editors

About EY

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This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

About the report

Has mining discovered its next great resource? was produced collaboratively by EY and Women in Mining (UK). The report outlines actions that all organizations in the mining sector — large or small — can adopt to support women and retain and develop valuable female talent within their organizations.

Through interviews with leading global mining companies, we have also compiled a series of case studies of successful initiatives, components of which EY and Women in Mining (UK) hope will inspire organizations to encourage women’s advancement. These case studies have been curated to be easily replicable and adaptable to the budget constraints of any mining company.

About EY’s Global Mining & Metals Sector

With a volatile outlook for mining and metals, the global mining and metals sector is focused on margin and productivity improvements, while poised for value-based growth opportunities as they arise. The sector also faces the increased challenges of maintaining its social license to operate, balancing its talent requirements, effectively managing its capital projects and engaging with government around revenue expectations.

EY’s Global Mining & Metals Network is where people and ideas come together to help mining and metals companies meet the issues of today and anticipate those of tomorrow by developing solutions to meet these challenges. It brings together a worldwide team of professionals to help you succeed — a team with deep technical experience in providing assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services to the mining and metals sector. Ultimately it enables us to help you meet your goals and compete more effectively.

For more information, please visit ey.com/miningmetals.

About Women in Mining

Women in Mining (WIM) (UK) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and progressing the development of women in the mining and minerals sector in the UK and abroad. Established in 2006, WIM (UK) now has more than 1,500 members, holds regular networking events, seminars and professional development events, and regularly publishes on issues relating to women in the mining sector.