The company behind Saskatchewan’s newest potash mine employs a greater percentage of women than many of its competitors in the traditionally male-dominated industry, but its senior manager of human resources says achieving gender parity in the next decade will be a tall order.
Maryann Deutscher said that while K+S Potash Canada’s (KSPC) superintendent of primary mining is a woman and there are other similar success stories in the company, it will take time for perceptions about traditional and non-traditional roles to fade and a larger pool of women willing to work in engineering and the trades to develop.
“Is it realistic to say it would be 50 per cent? No, it’s probably not realistic because your pool’s just not there yet, right?” Deutscher said Tuesday in an interview before adding: “When you’re thinking 10 years, there’s people that have to be in those trades, in those operator-type roles now … Will it grow? It’d be great to see it even grow by 10 per cent and get up to that 25-30 per cent, for sure.”
Of KSPC’s 470 employees in the province, 96, or 20 per cent, are women, according to Deutscher. That is above the 14 per cent provincial mining average reported three years ago by the Saskatchewan Mining Association. By comparison, KSPC’s parent company K+S AG said earlier this year that women make up 12 per cent of its 14,530-strong workforce.
While preconceived notions about the industry are prevalent, ever major company in the sector is working to hire more women. Deutscher said championing female employees will not only encourage more young women to consider careers in mining, but also make the companies they work for stronger and more productive.
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