Women in Mining – closing the wealth gap
Mining companies in Australia have never been in a stronger financial position to make a big, bold pivot towards the future and they are making women a big part of that adventure.
According to the Australian Government’s regional industry data, the female share of employment in mining increased to 19.1% in February 2021. Whilst this gender advancement is welcome news, being one of the most male dominated industries in Australia, it has still a long way to go to reach gender employment equality.
However, appointing women into a male orientated industry in equal roles with equal pay would go some way to reduce the 14% gender pay gap that currently exists in Australia. It is reported that the median weekly earnings for a mining employee is $2,325, therefore for those females in the industry with a higher paying salary comes an increased cashflow and they need to manage money effectively to add to the ongoing pressures of a professional career, juggling homelife and perhaps motherhood. Furthermore, FIFO arrangements add a whole new set of complications into the mix. From one professional working mother to another – I get it, sorting finances is just one more thing to add to the list, however setting good financial foundations now will make a huge positive impact on your finances in the future and provide security for yourself and your family.
5 moves you can make to close the gap
Having a solid understanding of your numbers and what it costs you to run your desired lifestyle, will help you avoid the lifestyle creep that inevitably comes with earning a higher salary. Lifestyle creep can be avoided by knowing how much you need monthly / annually to live the lifestyle you want. Then identifying the surplus and have a plan to put that surplus to work for you. Whether that be reducing debt, saving for a rainy day or investing to increase wealth, having purpose and direction over surplus cash will keep you away from spending to keep up with the Joneses.
Whilst more and more women are exploring mining opportunities, the need for financial knowledge and accountability for growing wealth, building financial independence and securing financial futures have also increased. Women are more interested in and engaged with their finances, now more than ever before and are looking to build wealth in a way that will increase net worth and earn returns greater than saving cash in the bank.
Whilst a career in mining can be financially rewarding and could span a long timeframe, it may not be something you wish to still be pursuing later in life. Therefore, building wealth now gives you options in the future to pivot later in life if you choose to do so and still have accumulated long term superannuation wealth to fund your desired lifestyle in retirement. Put your hard-earned money to work now and reap the rewards in the future.
Protecting your current level of income is almost as important as earning it. If you are unable to work for a period of time, would you be able to maintain your current expenses and lifestyle without access to your income? Losing income would be financially devastating to most families unless there is a financial “safety net” in place to provide a cash injection to support the household expenses until you can return to work. Furthermore, careful consideration needs to be given to ownership structures of any protection policies in place to ensure you are holding them in the most cost and tax effective way possible.
As mining opportunities for women continue to grow and are actively encouraged, it is prudent to do your research on median salaries for your specific role and keep an eye on industry opportunities. A study published in 2018 found that although women “asked” for pay rises just as often as men, only 15% were successful compared to 20% of men. This is a significant figure when also factoring in the existing gender pay gap. Know your worth and if you are not getting paid accordingly, it may be time to explore what else this growth industry has to offer.
Whilst the mining industry is striving to improve gender diversity and inclusion, women in mining have a unique opportunity to challenge stereotypes and unconscious biasness by excelling in their chosen mining careers, providing role models for those wanting to get into the industry and achieving the equal pay that being a female mining professional should secure.
Jodi Escudier is a financial adviser who helps women and families identify and reach financial goals through positive strategic advice. Over the last 8 years Jodi has worked together with clients to develop a pathway to a better financial future and secure wealth for themselves both now and as they navigate life’s everchanging demands.