Data linking diversity in the workplace with higher levels of company performance is validating the need for a management strategy that includes diversity. Executive sponsorships of female employees are one way that organizations are raising the diversity bar, but this also requires female employees to take a more active role in managing careers.

By Steve Fiscor, Editor

Focused on inspiring women to engage with peers and take an active role in their career development, as well as on the broader benefit of the impact of a diverse workforce on corporate performance, more than 300 attendees of a breakfast and panel discussion heard views on diversity from some of the biggest leaders in mining, asked questions and engaged in an active dialogue. The event was sponsored by Women of SME, the Women’s Auxiliary to the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (WAAIME), Women in Mining, and FLSmidth, and it took place during the annual Society of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers (SME) conference during February in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Diversity initiatives relating to gender hinge on hiring and retention from within the existing talent pool, but also that young women choose to pursue Science, Technology and Engineering and Math (STEM) degrees. With so much competition within the labor market for STEM graduates, it will be imperative that mining companies be seen as attractive employers to incoming diversity candidates. While breakfast attendees represented the full range of career maturity, from senior executives to students, more than half of those in attendance appeared to be millennials who were entering the industry’s workforce. Perhaps, surprisingly, many men were also in attendance, a good sign that men in the industry are actively engaged in this issue, and willing to help drive diversity initiatives to support female peers in career development.
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