Di­ver­sity key to suc­cess

The Advertiser - Careers - - Executive, Professional & Management -

THE nation’s re­sources sec­tor has been urged to em­brace di­ver­sity and ad­dress the lack of women in se­nior man­age­rial roles in the ‘‘blokey world of min­ing’’.

Speak­ing at the Pay­dirt 2011 South Aus­tralian Re­sources and En­ergy In­vest­ment Con­fer­ence in Ade­laide this week, Women in Re­sources South Aus­tralia found­ing mem­ber Kathryn Presser says a change to gen­der di­ver­sity is about man­ag­ing a work­force, not gen­er­at­ing change for change’s sake.

‘‘Re­search con­tin­ues to show that women con­trib­ute a sig­nif­i­cant pos­i­tive im­pact on board in­puts and firm man­age­ment out­comes,’’ Ms Presser says.

‘‘We need to not lose sight of this dif­fer­ence in per­cep­tion as we en­cour­age di­ver­sity, as sta­tis­tics show that lack of di­ver­sity is an is­sue, par­tic­u­larly in Aus­tralia’s re­sources sec­tor.’’

Ms Pres­sor says de­spite women com­pris­ing the ma­jor­ity of univer­sity grad­u­ates in 2009 and mak­ing up 45 per cent of the work­force, only a small num­ber hold se­nior roles.

There are now ASX-im­posed obli­ga­tions and ex­pec­ta­tions on listed com­pa­nies to meet di­ver­sity out­comes con­cern­ing women.

‘‘Listed com­pa­nies, of which the re­sources sec­tor com­prises an in­creas­ing num­ber, have to work out the best way to present mean­ing­ful poli­cies on diver­si­fi­ca­tion that best rep­re­sent their or­gan­i­sa­tion,’’ she says.

‘‘But com­mit­ment needs to come from the top.

‘‘This com­mit­ment needs to em­brace ar­tic­u­la­tion of the ben­e­fits of in­volv­ing more women, pro­mot­ing and em­brac­ing such a cul­ture, in­tro­duc­ing pro­grams that help de­velop a broader pool of skilled work­ers and in the se­lec­tion process of staff at all lev­els.’’

She calls on com­pa­nies to make a com­mit­ment to set rea­son­able tar­gets and says re­search sug­gests a board make up of 40 per cent women makes the board func­tion ef­fec­tively.

‘‘Aim to reach this tar­get in a rea­son­able amount of Presser says.

‘‘The em­pha­sis has to be on rea­son­able times as these changes are not go­ing to hap­pen overnight.’’

Ms Presser says women should not be el­e­vated to board or se­nior man­age­rial po­si­tions as a form of ‘‘to­kenism’’.

‘‘Un­for­tu­nately, the road to change

time,’’ Ms is long and maybe the only way to speed up the process is to en­force quo­tas,’’ she says.

‘‘We are now in a new era of gov­er­nance and put sim­ply, fu­ture boards and se­nior man­age­ment roles should com­prise peo­ple who rep­re­sent more di­men­sions of di­ver­sity of gen­der, age, re­li­gion and sex­u­al­ity.’’ She en­cour­ages em­ploy­ers to re­view em­ployee se­lec­tion pro­cesses and at­tempt to short­list at least one fe­male can­di­date for ev­ery po­si­tion.

Ms Presser ac­knowl­edges that the changes will not be easy and recog­nises that male chair­men and chief ex­ec­u­tives who are used to lead­ing like-minded men will find them­selves ‘‘fac­ing new and in­ter­est­ing chal­lenges’’ by try­ing to em­ploy more women.

‘‘These changes are not for the faint-hearted and com­pa­nies should stop ask­ing ‘Why aren’t women mak­ing it to the top?’ and start ask­ing ‘Why aren’t com­pa­nies re­tain­ing and pro­mot­ing the ma­jor­ity of grad­u­ates?’, 60 per cent of whom are women,’’ she says.

More women need to be em­ployed by min­ing com­pa­nies to help them over­come skill short­ages.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.