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Career drop-off for females in mining most dramatic across all industries - McKinsey

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(Kitco News) - McKinsey took mining to task for the under-representation of women in the mining industry.

Yesterday the consultancy published its report Why Women Are Leaving The Mining Industry And What Mining Companies Can Do About It.

McKinsey said that women represent an estimated 8 to 17 percent of the global mining workforce.

"In addition to low labor force participation, the drop-off from entry level to executive for females in mining is among the most dramatic across all industries we studied," wrote the study's authors.

"Breaking down the sector in terms of senior leadership roles, we see that mining is a laggard among laggards: female representation within mining company C-suites sits at 13 percent. Among S&P 500 companies, there are only 30 female CEOs—not one of them comes from mining."

In its survey investigating reasons for the drop-off, women perceived fewer advancement opportunities than there are for their male colleagues.

"The women we surveyed commonly referred to 'not being a member of the boys' club,' which lowered their motivation and sense of belonging," writes McKinsey.

Interestingly, one of mining's top draws is also a reason it can't retain women.

"Women are, for the most part, attracted to the mining sector by the type and variety of work it offers. But women report leaving—or wanting to leave—the industry because the qualities that originally attracted them to the field don't anymore...feeling that work is no longer intellectually challenging."

To help advance women in the sector, McKinsey recommends parity goals for gender representation and mentorship or buddy programs.

Getting representation right is better for companies, too, writes McKinsey, stating that lack of representation can weaken a business. McKinsey said diversity promotes creativity and strategic resilience.

"Mining companies will need both if they are to successfully meet the broadening challenges facing the industry today, from digital and analytics disruption to sustainability and decarbonization."

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