BHP adds 1000 women to workforce

Image: BHP Billiton

BHP’s workforce has grown to be more than 20 per cent female.

The company, which set an ambitious target of making half of its workforce women by 2025, increased its female representation by 2.9 per cent in the 2017 financial year, just below a 3 per cent goal.

BHP chief executive Andrew McKenzie said the company hired 1000 more women in fiscal 2017, lifting its female presence to more than 20 per cent.

The company also halved its female turnover rate during the financial year, from 8.4 per cent higher than men the previous year to 4.7 per cent.

“These numbers are important. If we achieve balance in and balance out then we can move towards our goal more quickly,” McKenzie said.

“This year the number of female leaders rose to 18 per cent. There are 100 more female leaders in our company today than a year ago. It makes a noticeable difference to how we make decisions and how it feels to work in our teams.”

McKenzie reinforced the strong commercial reasons for targeting diversity, including a safer, more innovative and productive workforce.

He said BHP’s most diverse sites outperform the company average on many measures, such as lower injury rates, and greater adherence to work plans and production targets.

“There’s also a moral imperative for diversity. As a father, I believe my children should be able to succeed because of their skills and achievements – the fact that they are women should not make a difference,” McKenzie said.

“An increase in the participation of women will also make a difference that benefits the communities in which we operate.”

While BHP’s target is to have 50 per cent of its workforce women in less than a decade, it has exceeded this proportion at its new Brisbane logistics control centre.

At the centre, which is made up of 53 per cent women, BHP recruited people based on matched skills rather than mining experience.