POLL RESULTS: Are we closing the gender pay gap?

pink pig figurine

The gender pay gap between men and women in mining is a thorny issue. We’ve revisited the topic and have new data.

The issue of the gender pay gap is a thorny one, especially in industries like mining  where male participation has always been high.

Last month Mining People revisited a poll we took in December 2017 about the gender pay gap. We wanted to see where we’re at, what we’ve achieved as an industry, and where we need to improve. And, this year, we also ran additional polls on LinkedIn to aid in our research.

Here’s what we discovered.

Do you think men are paid more than women in your mining workplace for doing the same or similar work?

July 2020

LinkedIn poll July 2020

December 2017

All or most of the time




Some of the time




Maybe in a few select roles




Never – they’re paid the same






(not an option on LinkedIn poll)


What do you think the gap looks like?

July 2020

December 2017

There is no gap



Men are paid 1-3% more than women



Men are paid 3-5% more than women



Men are paid 5-10% more than women



Men are paid 10-15% more than women



Men are paid 15-20% more than women



Men are paid at least 20% more than women



This year, we wanted to find out whether the people answering our poll felt their company was making an effort to close the gap. We asked an additional question to provide insight.

Do you think the mining company you work for is doing enough to close the gender and equality pay gap?

July 2020

LinkedIn poll July 2020

Yes, they’re working hard on it



Yes, but they could do more



No, they’re not doing anywhere near enough



No, they’re not even looking at it



I don’t know what they’re doing about it


(not an option on LinkedIn poll)

How people feel about the gender pay gap in mining

We also invited respondents to briefly tell us what they would like to see their company do to address the gender pay gap.  

Those answers clearly show common themes to the answer:

  • Equal pay for equal work
  • Equal pay for men and women
  • Pay people for their role, not for gender
  • Pay people for their qualifications, not for gender
  • Pay and promote on experience, not gender.

One comment captured the overall sentiment.

“When doing the same job, there is no gap. If I was replaced in my role by a woman, she would receive the same wage. Exactly the same. We have discrimination laws.”


But another comment noted the importance of continuing oversight.

Ensure there is equal opportunity employing, as well as auditing what women are being paid compared to their male counterparts in the same roles.”

This bit of advice is supported by research from Bankwest and Curtin University. The BCEC|WGEA Gender Equity Insights 2018: Inside Australia’s Gender Pay Gap report showed a pay gap audit leads to companies taking corrective steps. And, an audit  tends to have a long-term impact on narrowing the differences between men’s and women’s pay, especially when compared to companies who take no action.

But the real boost for closing the gender pay gap is to report audit findings to the board. Gender pay gaps close when leaders see the numbers.

Is the gender pay gap in mining closing?

Without doubt, there’s a feeling the pay gap is closing, with nearly 60 per cent of  those responding to our newsroom poll saying there is no gap. That’s up 13 percentage points in only two and a half years.

Fifty per cent of people taking the poll on our website say their companies are working hard on closing the gap and another 13.4 per cent say their company is doing enough but could do even more.

Respondents to our LinkedIn polls tracked closely to the responses on our website newsroom poll, taking into consideration a reduced number of options to answer in the poll.

These are all encouraging signs of an industry working towards higher participation rates for women.

But there’s still work to be done.

As we reported in “Are miners doing enough about the gender pay gap?, one factor that needs to be explored more is how the numbers will stack up as women become more experienced in mining and career longevity increases. AusIMM notes there’s more work to be done in comparative research to answer the question properly.

Is the pay gap in mining because women, overall, don’t have as much experience as men? And, as more women enter the sector and move up through the ranks, will the gap naturally close?

It’s too soon to know for sure, but all indications point to Australian mining going in the right direction to closing the gender pay gap.

If you are looking for deep insights into the mining markets and would like MPi to conduct some targeted industry research on your behalf, then please email us.

Sarah Mitchell
Mining People International