Percentage of women in the WA resources industry sinks
■ The percentage of female workers in WA’s resources industry is falling, despite companies doing more to attract and retain women.
Women in the sector fell from 18.8 per cent to 17.8 per cent between 2013 and 2015, a Chamber of Minerals and Energy report revealed last week.
In the same period, the percentage of WA resource companies with dedicated programs aimed at encouraging women into the workplace and keeping them there rose significantly.
Of the 40 companies that took part in CME’s biennial survey, the percentage conducting annual gender pay equity audits rose from 42.6 per cent in 2013 to 62.5 per cent in 2015, and those with programs to encourage female job applicants rose from 40.4 per cent to 60 per cent and 40 per cent had female recruitment targets, up from 21.3 per cent.
One area where companies seem to be going backwards is in the provision of childcare support, including in-house facilities, partnerships with external childcare groups or financial assistance for employees. Between 2013 and 2015 the percentage of companies offering childcare support fell from 17 to 10 per cent.
The CME report makes clear the percentage of women in WA’s resources industry has changed little since 2008, having fluctuated between 17.4 per cent and 21.6 per cent in that time. Women account for 44 per cent of the wider workforce. The national female participation rate in resources is even lower at 12.9 per cent.
The companies surveyed for the CME report accounted for 52,750 employees, or about half the sector.
CME chief executive Reg HowardSmith said the figures showed women were still significantly under-represented But given the extent of the industry downturn, it was reassuring the drop had not been bigger.
Most women were employed in management, clerical positions and administration — areas hit hard by the mining downturn.
“It was pleasing to see the percentage of female technicians, machine operator and tradespeople actually increasing,” he said.
“In positive signs for the future, 26 per cent of apprentices, trainees and graduates are female, an increase since 2013.”
The number of women employed in the resources sector is falling, despite many companies doing more to attract and retain women in their workforces.