Raspreet Kaur is fascinated by data and the ability to impact decision-makers and company strategy. After moving across the world to build a better life for herself, she has been impressed by how well BHP care for their people and their environment.
We talked about what it’s like uprooting your life and moving to the other side of the world, the importance of a workplace that values diversity, and why she loves data quite so much.
An insightful career in data mining
Raspreet started her career in India at a multinational telecommunications company doing voice intelligence research (think Siri on the iPhone, or Bixby on Samsung). She liked the company and the opportunity, but wasn’t crazy about the actual work, so after four and a half years she transferred internally to the Big Data team.
She was really interested in, “how people are using data. It was new to me, and fascinating. The tools and technology were more interesting. Even in the software world there are so many things to do and it’s about finding your passion”.
Working in data, she says, “I could see the impact, the actions management take because of the data. It was really powerful, and it’s the direction the world of software is moving. Many big companies like BHP use data as a very important tool for decision making”.
Moving to Australia (more on that later), Raspreet worked for another telecommunications company for eighteen months before seeing her dream role advertised at BHP. She is now a Specialist Data Engineer with a focus on big data.
“The work is great, and it’s really intriguing. There is so much data coming in from the mine sites, lots of trucks, many people in the field. All that information comes through to us and we work with the data to get even more information out of it. We do provide analysis to other teams who [then use it] to optimize processes.”
“Top management can make decisions with the help of our data and analysis. We can change the way we’re working to get more out of [mine sites, equipment and resources].”
Raspreet was initially attracted by the work and had to do her research on BHP and the mining industry before she interviewed.
“When I read about BHP, their policies and how they’re aiming to bring more and more women on board I thought, it’s perfect!”
Achieving gender balance by 2025
BHP know that inclusive, diverse teams are good for business, and have a global goal to reach gender balance across the business by 2025. Fiona Vines spoke more about this when we chatted to her for our podcast, Equality Talks, Season Two Episode Two.
For Raspreet, that focus on inclusion and diversity is a key attraction of working for BHP. She has joined their Employee Resource Group, Women in Brisbane.
“It surprised me how many women are in software, IT, mining, all coming together and helping each other out. BHP hire a lot of women. There are so many women in leadership. It encourages me to stay here because I can see myself in leadership at BHP.”
Beyond the focus on gender balance, BHP has an inclusive culture. Raspreet noticed it from her interviews, sharing, “The people interviewing me were really nice and supportive. In interviews, you’re already a bit nervous, and if the people interviewing you are encouraging it really helps! I liked the people a lot.”
“People make companies. If you really like the team you’re working in, then you enjoy the work. You want to enjoy working with people.”
For someone trying to assess a company’s culture, Raspreet shares:
- Watch and listen. “If you’re being interviewed by a panel, see how they’re talking to each other and how they treat their colleagues.”
- Feel the energy. Look for ‘warm’ people. Do they treat you with equal respect even though you’re new?
- Check what they ask. One interview was mainly behavioral, and they really paid attention and commented on Raspreet’s answers.
“Small things matter. Now that I’ve joined, if I suggest something my voice is given importance. That really matters.”
For Raspreet, the best surprise from joining BHP has been, “My personal growth. I wasn’t expecting that. Mining and technology are traditionally male-dominated industries, and we’re working from home [because of COVID], so I was expecting the initial onboarding and knowledge transfer process to be difficult. But I’ve been surprised at how smoothly it went. I got up to speed really quickly and am proud of myself doing a good job now. I’m also really impressed at BHP’s commitment to improving gender balance – they mean what they say.”
Migrating for better work opportunities
Raspreet moved to Australia 18 months ago and is in her third month at BHP. Her team is based in Brisbane but she’s working remotely in Sydney with plans to move to Queensland when borders open up and everyone returns to work.
Her initial move from India was, “to have a better life. India has many issues, and no matter how hard a person tries, growing professionally and personally is really difficult. Australia has so many IT and software jobs, and the country is great”.
But moving across the globe isn’t easy. Raspreet’s tips on making it easier are:
- Check the work you want is there. “Check if there are the kinds of jobs you want to work in.”
- Apply for jobs before you move. “Apply before you come to Australia, to know that you’re getting offers and they like your resume and work history.”
- Plan thoroughly. As much as you can, know, “where you’re going to stay, how much expenses are and what odd jobs [you might be able to get] to help you survive until you get a job you like. Thorough planning helped us avoid big surprises”.
- Don’t be afraid of rejection. “Do job interviews so you know what people are looking for. Even if you get rejected, it’s a chance to learn.”
The resilience Raspreet has built has helped with joining BHP during a pandemic and working fully remotely in a new role.
“I ask a lot of questions; I think that’s a good thing! The first month was crazy, because I wanted to be part of everything that was going on. I stopped all the running around when I started to understand more and found my niche. It’s worked out really well. The work is great, and the company is great.”