Tide turning on new era for women in Qld’s resources sector

  • Posted 08 March, 2023
  • Media Releases

8 March 2023

The tide is turning for Queensland’s $94.6 billion resources sector, with more women than ever before working for mining and energy companies.

Women now make up a record 22 per cent of the workforce, up from almost 20 per cent last year.

Speaking at the Resources Awards for Women in Brisbane today, held to coincide with International Women’s Day and co-hosted with Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ), Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the industry’s efforts to recruit and retain more female employees are paying off.

“The QRC’s latest gender diversity data for 2021-22 shows women are seizing the opportunity to work in the mining and energy sector with both hands,” he said.

“At a time when every industry in Australia is competing for skilled workers, initiatives to make our sector more flexible, diverse and inclusive are opening new doors for women to join or remain in our workforce.

ABS figures show mine employees earn the highest average annual income in Australia, coming in at $130,000, so it’s great to see more women benefiting from the financial security offered by these well-paid and rewarding jobs.”

The QRC report shows there’s been a 10 per cent jump in the number of women working in non-traditional roles in the resources sector over the past financial year.

Another stand-out result is the 18 per cent increase in the number of women now working for mining and energy companies in trade roles.

Mr Macfarlane said the percentage of women employed in trade positions has risen by more than 450 per cent over the past seven years, demonstrating women are interested in hands-on trade careers when given the opportunity.

He said while companies are heading in the right direction, all agree there is more work to be done to hit the industry’s next target of 30 per cent female participation by 2026.

Research by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency has found more diverse workplaces are more productive, innovative and provide a more positive working environment for men and women, so resources companies are very motivated to continue down this path,” he said.

Mr Macfarlane and WIMARQ co-chair Sally Raynor also named this year’s winners in the Resources Awards for Women, with Rio Tinto’s Brisbane-based Global Head of Equity Inclusion and Diversity Melanie Cooper taking out the top Exceptional Woman in Queensland Resources award.

The winner of the Exceptional Young Woman in Queensland Resources is Senior Project Engineer Daisy Ambach, Glencore Qld Metals, Mount Isa.

The winner of the Exceptional Woman in Qld Resources in Technological Innovation award is Data Science Lead Joana Sousa, BHP, Brisbane.

The winner of the Exceptional Tradeswoman/Technician/Operator in Qld Resources award is Maintenance Supervisor Jacqueline Kelly, Shell QGC, Chinchilla.

The winner of the Excellence in Diversity Programs and Performance in Qld Resources award is Rio Tinto for its Indigenous Leadership Program.

Joint winners of the Exceptional Female QMEA Student award are Zoe Delroy, Redeemer Lutheran College, Biloela; and Lianna Woodsbey, Good Shepherd Catholic College, Mount Isa.

The winner of the Inclusion and Diversity Champion in Queensland Resources award is Larissa Walker, Front End Development Manager, Shell QGC, Brisbane.

Mr Macfarlane congratulated all winners and finalists, saying they were part of a new, more inclusive era for women in resources.

“The resources sector will greatly benefit from your unique skills and perspectives, as we transition to a lower emissions future using the best available technology and practices.”

WIMARQ co-chair Sally Rayner said the awards recognised the important contribution of women to the resources sector and celebrated the industry’s gender diversity champions.

“It’s exciting to see so many more women saying yes to the career opportunities available in resources, whether that’s working in an office, a lab, on a mine site or at a gas field,” she said.

“We’re putting out the welcome mat for more women to bring their skills and experience to our industry because a more diverse workplace is a more positive and productive environment for all employees.”