The Pathway Forward: Creating Gender Inclusive Leadership in Mining and Resources

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Canada is a major player in the world mining industry, producing more than 60 different minerals and metals. The Canadian mining industry provides
an important contribution to Canada’s economy, accounting for 4.5% of
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 23% of Canadian exports in 2011. Moving forward, however, the industry faces key challenges, such as serious labour shortages due to an aging workforce, requiring strong recruitment of new talent. According to the Canadian Mining Industry Employment and Hiring Forecasts Report (2011), the mining industry will require 45,760 new people by 2016 and 75,280 new workers by 2021.

Despite the looming labour shortage, women remain underrepresented in all of the industry’s employment opportunities, from entrance positions to leadership posts. In fact, women’s employment in the mining industry

– at around 15% for the past 14 years - is very low compared to other key economic sectors: mining (18.6%), service (71.86), public administration (47.70%), manufacturing (21.70%), energy (24.56%), finance (61.53%), tourism and transport (45.21%). Women’s employment did marginally increase from approximately 14% in 1988 to 18.6% in 2011.

In 2007, 24% of female university graduates completed engineering and technology related programs and 9% of female apprenticeship program graduates completed male-dominated skilled trade. Therefore, it is expected that we would see similar proportions of females in such positions in the mining industry. However, as of 2006, female employees represented only 5% of workers in such occupations in the industry suggesting additional barriers for female participation other than the labour shortage of women in the industry. 

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