St Barbara: Attracting women to a male-dominated industry

St Barbara case study

St Barbara has been working to increase the number of women in its male-dominated workplace for several years, with the aim of achieving a more equal balance of women and men across the organisation.

With a limited number of applications received from women for site-based technical and professional roles, St Barbara developed strategies to counteract existing barriers to attracting and retaining women.

The main barriers include the perception of mining as a ‘man’s domain’ with a ‘blokey culture’, a shrinking pipeline of qualified women for professional and technical roles, and difficulty retaining women in fly-in fly-out site-based roles due to extended periods away from family.

St Barbara, in partnership with the WGEA, has developed a case study detailing their initiatives for attracting women to a male-dominated industry. A key part of these programs is target setting, which has been used by St Barbara since 2010 to focus attention on goals within the organisation and to demonstrate a commitment to driving change.

There has also been a strong commitment to regularly monitoring, measuring and reporting on targets and unwavering support from the executive and board.

Taking into account the barriers to recruitment and retention, four main action areas were identified – recruitment of women, retention of female employees, advancement into management roles and pay equity.

As a result of St Barbara’s initiatives the company has achieved excellent outcomes in the four key areas: In the 12 months to December 2016, 24% of all new starters were female compared to 20% in the 12 months to December 2015.

There has been an increase in the proportion of women returning to work after a period of parental leave from 50% between 2007 and 2009, to 100% between 2009 and 2016.

In 2014 a target was set for 33% representation of women on the board by 2018. The board achieved this target on 1 July 2015.

In 2007, the overall organisational-wide pay gap was 43% in favour of men. As a result of setting targets and other initiatives, this gap has been reduced to 16% as at 30 June 2016. The 2018 target is to reduce the pay gap to 8%.

Download the St Barbara case study below to find out more about how they attract and retain female talent.