Original Research

Factors affecting the attraction of women to technical mining positions in South Africa

Nelly Mashaba, Doret Botha
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 21 | a2227 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v21i0.2227 | © 2023 Nelly Mashaba, Doret Botha | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 January 2023 | Published: 31 August 2023

About the author(s)

Nelly Mashaba, Council for the Built Environment, Pretoria, South Africa
Doret Botha, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Humanities, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: Since the advent of democracy, various laws and policies have been enacted to redress past inequalities concerning women’s inclusion in mining.

Research purpose: The study aimed to investigate factors influencing women’s attraction to technical positions in the South African mining industry and to also uncover what could be done to encourage their successful participation in the industry.

Motivation for the study: Despite the availability of opportunities in the mining industry, women’s occupancy of technical positions is moving at a snail’s pace.

Research approach/design and method: The research was conducted using a convergent parallel mixed-methods research design, with a sample consisting of women in technical mining positions and employer representatives.

Main findings: The exploratory factor analysis identified four factors as important for attracting women to technical mining positions. These were application and development value, interest value, economic value and social value. The qualitative findings revealed that the following barriers affect the inclusion of women in mining: the lack of career awareness of mining-related qualifications; the notion that mining jobs are physically demanding for women; work-life balance issues and a workplace culture in mining that is perceived as unwelcoming to women.

Practical/managerial implications: This research is significant in that it provides employers and human resource managers with information about factors affecting the attraction of women to technical positions in South Africa’s mining industry and globally.

Contribution/value-add: This study contributes to the body of knowledge on women in mining, generally, and the factors attracting women to technical mining positions, specifically.


Keywords

attraction; barriers; mining industry; South Africa; technical positions; women.

JEL Codes

J16: Economics of Gender • Non-labor Discrimination; J71: Discrimination; J81: Working Conditions

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 5: Gender equality

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