“You need to be genuine about giving everyone an opportunity regardless of background, gender or race,” says Nick. “And, you need to encourage and provide an environment for diversity to succeed, and then be patient to achieve the desired outcomes.
“Generally, consulting organisations have diversity targets in place and work towards them, but the real key to success is to be genuine from a development and leadership perspective. Processes need to be in place and led from the top down, driven in a focused way to break down the barriers and remove the unconscious bias that still exists in some organisations.
“The mining industry has evolved greatly, particularly in the past decade. Nowhere is this more evident than with BHP and Rio Tinto’s recent recruitment campaigns which link employment, technology and lifestyle benefits to the industry. As an example, increased focus on digital automation and data analytics are now playing a big part in making the industry more attractive for young people considering their career options.
“Workplace flexibility – in terms of time spent in the field versus time spent at home – will also assist with work/life balance and help attract females back into mining and give males the chance spend more time at home with their families. At WSP, we also encourage all employees to get involved with their industry associations so they can interact with their peers, develop their communication skills and provide us feedback on their experiences.
“We also do a lot of work with mentoring and perhaps we could do more of that, bringing back the older experienced engineers into the workforce by offering reduced hours to help develop and upskill the next generation.”
When discussing the topic of cultural diversity and knowledge, Nick highlights WSP’s leadership in collaborating with Traditional Owners through using co-design principals to create infrastructure that reflects Australia’s first peoples. “We also made a historic announcement recently supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart.”
Diversity at WSP is also about having access to a global network of professionals. “We have the ability to tap into a much bigger talent pool, accessing people from around the globe with contrasting viewpoints and skills we may not have locally,” says Nick. “Moving people around globally to give them different experiences in different locations is really powerful.
“Overall, we continue to partner with our clients to align with their diversity targets and this helps us build much stronger, collaborative relationships with them. Our diverse team of engineers that we are recruiting and developing from different parts of the world have varying experiences and perspectives which we need to foster, and this is what will help deliver better outcomes for the mining sector.”
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