Cultural Infusion has developed the Diversity Atlas which can provide miners with the baseline data they need to better design cultural diversity programs.
CI CEO Peter Mousaferiadis said mining companies need to recognize that diversity can benefit them as an organization.
“Mining companies work in some of the most diverse places in the world,” he said.
However, this diversity can be a challenge for them.
“They may have a diverse workforce, but they often don’t represent the community they work in,” he said.
“Mining organizations struggle to attract women.”
Mousaferiadis said 15.7% of the workforce was female.
“So what can they do to fight for gender parity?” He asked.
“It will take a long time.”
Mousaferiadis said mining companies need to think about how they create diversity within the organization.
“They need to ensure that women are in key leadership positions,” he said.
“If they can’t, they need to ask why. The need to take a data-driven approach and develop strategies from that.
“That way they can make the organization more equitable and representative of their communities.”
Mousaferiadis said that in the wider business community, 38% of all leadership positions were held by women.
“It’s not represented in mining,” he said.
Greater Indigenous representation is another challenge that miners face.
“In 2001, the Australian Bureau of Statistics had the figure 0.01% of miners were Aboriginal women,” Mousaferiadis said.
“It’s about building bridges. If you can diversify the workforce and make it more representative, mining companies can benefit. They can get the best innovation.”
Mousaferiadis said CI’s Diversity Atlas is used by Amazon to map its global workforce.
“They realize that when their organizations represent the community they’re in, they achieve better health outcomes,” he said.
Mousaferiadis said the science-based approach to diversity should work well for most mining companies.
After all, they are very science-oriented. Their world is all about minerals and elements.
“Mining companies should lead the way,” Mousaferiadis said.
“They have the best scientists.
“How can they apply this scientific approach to diversity?
Mousaferiadis said miners need to take a closer look at the communities in which they operate.
“If you walk into a community, you don’t just see all the people as natives,” he said.
“You have to dive deeper into their ethnicity. What language do they speak? How do I connect with these people? How do I connect with their elders?
“You have to be able to understand people better. You can’t buy people with money. It’s about the ability to relate to other people. You have to understand the lens through which they look at the world.
“It’s absolutely important to build socially inclusive communities.”
It’s not just about the social license to operate either.
Mining companies want innovation. Diversity is one way to get it.
“When I think of diversity, I think more than social inclusion,” Mousaferiadis said.
“I look at innovation.
“Innovation is the diversification of ideas.
“In the city of Jeddah [in Saudi Arabia] they are building the first carbon-neutral desalination plant. There are many cultures working on this.
“Humanity’s greatest resource is our diversity and, in particular, our cultural diversity.
“In a place like Australia, how many different cultures do we have?”
There is a cost to being wrong about diversity and cultural communication.
“The cost of conflict is equivalent to around 13-14% of global gross domestic product,” Mousaferiadis said.
“In terms of dollars, you can calculate what a conflict costs.
“The only thing that will save humanity now is that we move on to a cultural reassessment that takes an anthropological approach that goes far beyond our need to enter the age of culture.
“The world has become super diverse.
“Think about how we communicated before 1989. Think about how communication is done today. The ability to understand the other has become more important.”
Mousaferiadis said while the social media explosion could pose a threat to miners, it could also spur cooperation and innovation.
“We are all citizens of the world,” he said.
“We are 5 billion connected to the World Wide Web.
“How can we create a sense of unity?”