Nichole possesses over a decade's worth of professional experience in leadership development, executive recruitment, and client management. As MD of Clifton Hill Associates, she is using this experience to advise clients on how to create a proactive strategy around talent and leadership both at an executive and board level.
How much of the global mining labour force is made up of women, and has this figure increased in the past 10 years?
We have certainly seen an increase in the numbers of women working in the mining industry and the types of roles they are working in, however there are currently no actual definitive figures on the numbers of women globally in the industry. This is something that needs to be remedied and I'm pleased to say that Women in Mining is looking to address this in the near future. Without a benchmark of where we are, it is hard to know where we are going and what we should be aiming for.
Importantly we are seeing change right at the top, at the leadership level of the industry, for example in 2012 54% of companies in the top 500 mining companies by market cap had all male board - by 2015 this had been reduced to 39%. More recently we have seen the recent appointments of Elizabeth Gains as CEO and Julie Shuttleworth as Deputy CEO of Fortescue, Marie Inkster as CEO of Lundin Mining and Noreen Doyle as Chair of Newmont's Board, to name a few. This demonstrates the industry is changing, that women's participation is being recognized and that companies are increasingly aware of the benefits diversity brings to both their business and their corporate culture and I would like to think advocacy groups like Women in Mining have made a contribution towards this.
How can supporting women in the mining industry benefit the sector as a whole?
There is no doubt that having a more diverse workforce, not only around gender, creates a more inclusive culture which enables diversity of thought which, in turn, is shown to result in better decision making, stronger governance and improved economic performance. For example, a recent report from the Peterson Institute for International Economics found that 30% of female representation on boards could add up to 6 percentage points to net margin. In addition, having more women in the sector creates more role models and mentoring, this makes the industry more attractive to more progressive graduates, ensuring that the industry continues to attract top talent. Without women, the industry would be missing out on essentially half of the global talent out there.
What initiatives are you planning in 2018/2019 to support women in the mining industry?
We have several exciting projects in the pipeline. For 2018, our flagship project is the "Top 100 Global Inspirational Women in Mining" 2018 Edition, which will be launched in November. This really highlights the level of talent across our industry at all levels and in all functions.
In addition to this, we are hoping to expand our scholarship programme at universities, formalise our mentoring programme and start a new global research project, details of which will be released later this year. This is all underpinned by the hard work our volunteers do everyday putting on educational events, engaging with students and collaborating with our partners to help continuously move the dial.
What do you think are the biggest sector challenges women are facing?
I think it's about ensuring there is a comprehensive career development path for women that will ultimately see at least 30% of women on senior executive management teams, not just at a Board level, not just the majors, but across all companies in the industry, seeing women at every level of management from junior explorers upwards. This will then lead to the necessary changes at the mine site level, driven by female participation in the leadership, as well as tackling the practical issues such as safety, appropriate workwear, travel, daycare, maternity and paternity rights, etc…
What do you hope the partnership with the 2019 Mining Indaba will achieve, and what are you most looking forward to about the event?
Our partnership with the 2019 Mining Indaba is the perfect event to showcase on an international scale the amazing and talented women we have in our industry. All too often at conferences the majority of panels and speakers are all male and this does not accurately represent our industry. We are excited to be working with the team at Mining Indaba to ensure both the speakers as well as the content represents a wider stakeholder group.
Women in Mining UK are an event partner of the 2019 Mining Indaba as part of their pledge to include more top female speakers on the agenda.
Register online for Mining Indaba 2019 with the code ASPERMONT10 to get 10% off: https://www.miningindaba.com