April 4, 2022

Career progress in mining for women

career progression

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In today’s work environment, women want to make sure they join a company where they will be given plenty of opportunities for career progression. It’s no longer acceptable for women to be sidelined while men advance, and research continues to show that career progression is a key thing women look for in employers. 

Additionally, the benefits of a diverse workforce are widely recognized. Boston Consulting Group showed that four diversity measures impact company performance – industry background, country of origin, career path, and gender. Knowing this, companies need to increase their focus on developing women and all people with diverse backgrounds.

Queensland Magnesia (QMAG) is a mining company – an industry that has only 16% women. But they understand how important diversity is for their business, and they’re committed to attracting, retaining and developing women. We heard from women who’ve had amazing career opportunities there, and how QMAG is focusing on diversity. 

Diversity programs at QMAG

QMAG has a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) policy in place to ensure it is always improving the workforce composition. Having commenced a new corporate culture journey in 2021, DEI is a vital element that retains significant focus. 

Melissa Brand (she/her), HR Generalist, shares:

“We utilize International Women’s Day to raise awareness of women who are accomplishing amazing things. But this isn’t a special day at QMAG; it happens every day.” 

From apprenticeship to leader

In non-traditional industries such as mining, attracting women early in their career and encouraging them to consider trades and apprenticeships is an important strategy for shifting the gender mix across the whole organization. QMAG created specifically-targeted advertising to attract more women which has been successful so far. Melissa shares:

“We currently have three young women in either our apprenticeship or traineeship programs and are actively seeking higher participation rates.

Beyond apprenticeships, women want to know that they will be supported in their career progression in a meaningful way. Rebecca Hall (she/her) is a Laboratory Coordinator, having started with QMAG in 2006 aged 21. In the 16 years since, she has progressed through a variety of roles and into leadership within the company.

“My first position was as a Quality Control Technician at our Parkhurst plant. Through the years I have held various positions in the Technical Department encompassing both Research and Quality Control. My passion for learning new skills has led to expanding my qualifications and professional advancement. I believe if you have a willingness to learn and an ability to take initiative, alongside a workplace that recognizes these attributes, you can advance your career. I now supervise 10 people across two laboratories.”

Professional development at QMAG

QMAG has a professional development program that creates structure for the growth and development of all employees. Melissa shares:

“Through this program we offer new work experiences, on the job training, and online educational courses. Our people are involved in external and internal mentoring. We have training days and study leave for people who want to further their education and capabilities.

We also support out-of-pocket professional development and training if it aligns with the needs of the organization.”

Carli Williams (she/her), Engineering & Maintenance Manager, also shared her experience:

“I have been lucky enough to be part of a professional coaching program with QMAG, being able to have that additional coaching/support as I was trying to figure out my career progression has been invaluable.”

Progressing onsite

Because there are plenty of remote workers at QMAG, they need to maintain a focus on people who might be out of sight – to ensure they’re not out of mind. There are professional development plans QMAG put in place, alongside advertising positions both internally and externally to increase visibility. Melissa adds:

“Regular discussions with supervisors to discuss career development is another strategy we use to ensure promotion opportunities are fair and consistent across the company, with both remote and local employees.”

Leticia Shields, Production Coordinator has worked a number of highly technical roles and shared her journey into leadership.

“Starting in electrofusion in 2013 was an experience, it is an extremely unique place to work, and I was placed with people who really took their time with my training. I moved from electrofusion to dead burn, learning about multiple hearth furnaces, rotex screens, grinding mills, and vertical shaft kilns. 

I was encouraged to become a team leader and from there, I am now a Production Coordinator. My advice for women entering this workplace is to have an open mind, be strong but be prepared to do the same work as the person next to you. Above all, having pride in yourself and your work is imperative for all workers – not just women.” 

The world is your oyster

QMAG may be a non-traditional industry for women, but they’re committed to overcoming industry barriers and ensuring women have the opportunity to progress in their organization. With a focus on apprentices right through to increasing the number of women in leadership, you may just find that QMAG can bring you an amazing career trajectory.

Do you want to see how far your career could go with QMAG?

Check out all their open roles today.

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About the Author
Samantha Sutherland is the Chief Storyteller at WORK180. She is a Diversity and Inclusion specialist with an analytical background, making her work evidence-based and data driven. Host of WORK180’s Equality Talks podcast and her own Women at Work, Samantha divides her time between interviewing amazing women for WORK180, mentoring and coaching women in, or aspiring to, leadership roles, and providing high-level advice on diversity practices to Australian corporations. You can learn more about the Samantha Sutherland consultancy at samanthasutherland.com.au.

Looking for a new opportunity?

Our transparent job board only has vacancies from employers we endorse and lets you see what benefits, policies and perks come with the job.