Mining Giant BHP Wants to Banish the Boys’ Club – by David Stringer and Matthew Winkler (Bloomberg News – April 5, 2017)

BHP Billiton Ltd., the No. 1 mining company, is taking diversity lessons from banks and law enforcement to achieve a gender-balanced workforce by 2025 and promote women into top executives.

The miner has held talks with companies including Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. on policies to boost female recruitment and retention, Laura Tyler, Melbourne-based BHP’s chief of staff and head of geoscience, said Wednesday in an interview at Bloomberg’s Sydney office.

“Banking had also been seen as a boys’ club and the high street banks, the retail banking sector, has made a huge turnaround,” said Tyler, 50, who was appointed last year to BHP’s 10-strong executive team, one of three women to hold a top leadership post. “We are talking with them about how did they change things.”

Financial companies in the Bloomberg World Index have an average of about 52 percent female staff, the highest among all industries, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Materials producers, including BHP and its largest competitor Rio Tinto Group, have the lowest share at 19 percent, the data show.

BHP, which in October announced its target for gender balance, sees a clear commercial case for changing its workforce, according to Tyler. “The sites that are most diverse, and where people say they are most able to speak up and feel inclusive, are delivering our strongest results and our better safety results,” she said.

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