Mining is an important sector for many countries, and for some, such as Chile, South Africa and Australia it is a key engine of economic development. The next decade will present a new set of challenges for the mining industry, one of which is a looming skills shortage. It is estimated that the Chilean mining industry will need to recruit between 20,000 and 44,000 operators, professionals and maintenance staff by 20201.
Furthermore, the mining industry continues to lack gender diversity and inclusion from entrylevel roles all the way to senior corporate, technical and board level roles. On average worldwide, only 5 to 10 % of the jobs in the mining industry are occupied by females, depending on country and company, with South Africa having the highest proportion of women in executive / board level roles2. This number is low even when compared to other traditionally male-dominated industries, such as the Oil and Gas sector (on average 25%).
According to the latest available data, Chile, which derives 22.7% of its GDP from mining, has one of the lowest rate of female participation in the workforce in Latin America 3 Moreover, according to Tatiana Hernández from the Observatory for Gender and Equality (a United Nations agency) and Marly López from the Instituto Nacional de Normalización4 (Chile), of the 7% of women who actively participate in the industry, only 1% reach leadership positions, 10% are professionals, 88% are operators and 1% occupy administrative positions (Organización Internacional del Trabajo, 2011; Mihychuk, 2010).5 Comparatively, these numbers are significantly lower when looking at Australia or Canada, were women account for 13.9 and 16% of the mining workforce respectively (full-time positions)6. There has been some improvement in terms of attracting and retaining women in Chile: for example, while women comprise just 10% of the workforce at Anglo American in Chile, this figure represents a tripling in recent years.