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Blog : BOARD TALK

Let's Talk About Mining & The LSE #Women

Posted on March 9, 2013 at 8:35 PM

I love it when nuggets of information come together and BAM - it's a story. So it is with my interest in the mining sector, its current challenges, women, and the boardroom.


I'm feeling lazy, so no links -  you'll have to use the search function (it does work) to find my old posts on the subject.


A few facts:

  • the top 100 mining companies have more women on boards, but the top 101-500 mining companies have more women in senior executive posts.
  • the larger the plc's market cap, the more likely there is to be a woman on the board
  • plcs listed on the LSE have the worst level of representation of women (Johannesburg Stock Exchange leads)
  • profit margins are higher for plcs with women on the board
  • mining is the worst sector for gender diversity - 5% of board seats are held by women in top 500 mining plcs

With all the challenges facing the mining industry at the moment (and if you don't know what these are, start using FT.com and you will get a wealth of recent information very fast - unpaid endorsement) making use of the best talent pool makes sense. 


So I am delighted again to report that Women In Mining (UK) has, with PwC, brought out an intelligent report on this issue, the first of three over as many years - I encourage anyone interested in mining, diversity, or just more intelligent business to take a look.


Having compiled a database of the 500 largest mining companies, they evaluated each company based on board composition, executive management composition and performance, across a wide range of goals.


I don't have the space or the time to go into the detail here. But the picture painted of London-listed companies is appalling, the analysis is careful, the argument for change is compelling and the solution, unsurprisingly, involves more than one initiative.


At the end - "what are the options for changing the status quo?" the authors conclude:


"We recognise that mining companies are all competing for the right talent. There is no shortage of women in the talent pool; there is simply a perception of a lack of female available talent. (my emphasis - anyone in the UK having a resounding sense of deja vu ?)


Increasing the understanding of the benefits of gender diversity for the industry and making the industry a more attractive place  for women to work  and remain employed (my emphasis again) would be a positive step in changing perceptions of the industry." Beautifully put.


I should note that the mining companies sponsoring this report are Anglo American and Rio Tinto.


And I remind you that there are two more reports to come on what to do next to improve things....


But guess what ? Anyone watching the boardroom and gender diversity space in the UK will know only too well that of the handful of 'men only' boards remaining that have been repeatedly named in an attempt to shame, mining (and natural resources) dominate.


The government has tried 'naming and shaming' - first by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and then by his business secretary, Vince Cable.


Enough. Maybe what we need now is to show the way forward, clearly and irrevocably. Well done to Women In Mining, PwC and the sponsors for leading the way. They ambushed me the other day when I was at PwC to listen to Lord Davies, but sometimes you need to ambush people to get what you want- results.


And I genuinely don't know the answer to this question: where does the LSE sit on all this? Because with all the money that is spent communicating the benefits of London listings, surely the state of the mining companies when it comes to women is a bit of an embarassment when it comes to image.......?


Read Mining For Talent - A study of women on boards in the mining industry by WIM (UK) and PwC here.

And, judging by my inbox, you will be hearing more about mining in this space very soon. Thank you for reading and please share.







Categories: Women, Appointments, Chairmen