Case Study 6

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Overview:

The RioTinto Group is a large-scale mining organisation, with its headquarters in London, UK, and managerial offices in Melbourne. Founded in 1873, the company has grown considerably to become one of the world’s leading suppliers of commodities such as iron ore, aluminium and diamonds. The company operates within six continents, but its activities are mostly focused within Australia and Canada. The gross assets of Rio Tinto are valued at $81 billion.

Traditional Operations:

As might be expected in this particular industry, the company is very male dominated. In 2012, an extensive report of the company found that only 22% of the staff employed within Rio Tinto Australia was female, and in senior roles, females accounted for only 20%.

Focus on Gender Equality – The Results:

Unlike other male dominated companies, Rio Tinto recognised the issues that the under-representation of females in the organisation presented. It acknowledged that the current company infrastructure was not sympathetic to women with young families and that attitudes within the company itself were acting as a deterrent for female applicants.

The company also recognised that, by not attracting female applicants, they were missing out on a significant talent pool and were not addressing changing demographics and expectations of their clients.

Rio Tinto set itself the aim of having 50% female representation at middle management level by 2015, with the expectation that many of these females would move on to senior roles.

“So far, the scheme has been a success and the business has reported significant benefits from having a better gender balance within the workplace. Joanne Farrell, Vice President of Organisation Resources, says, “Not only do we need women from all diverse backgrounds, but we will need to deploy their talents at all levels of our business”.