IMARC speaker addresses diversity in mining

Mining companies understand the value and need to manage diverse workforces, and this is becoming increasingly critical for the workforces’ strategies like talent attraction, retention and career development.

Mining operations where the workforce better reflects the community in which it operates have increased mine productivity. However, understanding the richness of diversity in diverse workforces is mostly limited.

Cultural Infusion founder and chief executive officer Peter Mousaferiadis was set to speak at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) at the end of January, but due to COVID, the event has been postponed.

Cultural Infusion was founded in Melbourne in 2002 and has established itself as a leader in promoting intercultural understanding worldwide.

Mousaferiadis told Australian Mining that his keynote speech at IMARC was going to cover the mining sector and the value it brings, but also how it should be looking at its processes through a diversity lens.

 “The mining industry brings so much value, but I think it would be a lot more value to the sector and every single mining company in the world, to apply the sort of methodology they use in mining activities when it comes to human resources,” Mousaferiadis said.

“It employs huge workforces from all over the world, and it’s not just about how diverse the workforce is, it’s also about how that diversity is managed.”

The mining sector is growing as a more attractive industry for women, with about 40 per cent of entry-level roles being filled by women.

However, women represent an estimated 8 to 17 per cent of the global mining workforce, as the drop-off from entry-level to executive roles for females in mining is quite significant.

The top reasons for women leaving the industry are feeling that work is no longer intellectually challenging and having the perception that there are fewer advancement opportunities than there are for their male colleagues.

“What sort of strategies can these mining companies implement to make their workforce more representative of the community?” Mousaferiadis said.

“It won’t reach a 50 per cent male-to-female ratio overnight, but we can take that 17 per cent to a much higher number.”

A data-driven approach gives the companies an opportunity to understand diversity in its entirety.

Cultural Infusion has a tool called Diversity Atlas, which is a unique diversity data-analysis platform that provides insight into cultural and demographic diversity within an organisation.

It enables organisations to understand the diverse richness of its teams and to better measure, understand, acknowledge and act on its diversity, inclusion and development strategies.

Diversity Atlas is for companies to be able to inform strategies that will make their organisations more inclusive, representative and equitable,” Mousaferiadis said.

“They can ask, what are we doing to be able to recognise aspects of our workers’ identities so they can feel safe to bring that aspect of their identity to work.

“If they feel that aspects of their identity are being appreciated and valued, then they’re going to give more of themselves to those organisations.”

Diverse teams were reported to have an 11 per cent higher adherence to a production schedule and to have safer practises, with a 67 per cent lower total recordable injury frequency.

“If you manage diversity well, think of how it not only fosters greater productivity but think of how it fosters innovation,” Mousaferiadis said.

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