Rio Tinto
Sustainable development 2011


The Rio Tinto College: a new chapter in learning and development

Developing our people for growth is an essential part of our success now and in the future. We want to engage our people by providing opportunities for their personal growth, and help them develop to support and enable the growth of our organisation. Meanwhile, the concepts and formats of learning are shifting gear, with people looking for ready access to learning in online as well as traditional classroom environments.

Recognising these needs, our global Learning & People Development team developed a three-year learning roadmap to support the development needs of employees at all levels, in all roles across our operations. The initiatives are aligned with learning offerings available at a local level, to ensure that all employees have access to development for their current and future roles.

In 2011, we launched the Rio Tinto College. This innovative approach to learning comprises academies for leadership and the development of functional skills. The flagship academy launched as part of the College was the Marketing Academy. This will be followed by academies in the areas of Health, Safety, Environment and Communities, and leadership.

The learning curriculum is a mix of formal classroom, social and virtual learning available 24/7 and accessible through the academy portals.


A skilled and diverse workforce is critical to our business performance. Just as we carefully manage our capital investments to optimise the long-term value of our mineral assets, we use human capital planning to maximise the value of our people assets. At the same time, we build the requisite skills and capabilities to assure our future talent needs. Our People strategy together with our employee commitment forms the framework that guides how we attract, develop, engage and retain talent whilst ensuring alignment with our business strategy.


In alignment with our People strategy, we invest in and engage people over the long term by fostering diversity, providing challenging and exciting work and development opportunities, and rewarding for performance, driven by quality leadership at every level. Together, we bring our collective strengths to work, creating value for both the organisation and our employees.

The Group-wide performance, talent and remuneration systems support consistent and transparent assessment of talent across Rio Tinto, drive a performance-focused culture through clear linkages between performance and reward, and enable employees to articulate their career aspirations.

We recruit based on skills and experience, to meet the requirements of each role. We do not discriminate on grounds of age, ethnicity, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, politics, religion or physical abilities and we do not employ forced, bonded or child labour. We actively favour employment where local candidates meet job requirements and laws provide. Where local capacity does not meet our employment standards we, in partnership with communities and government, implement programmes to develop skill levels and work readiness. We help Indigenous people engage in the local economy through various strategies, including direct employment.

Our employees’ diversity of skills, ideas and experiences helps to ensure that we respond innovatively to the challenges faced by our business. We encourage collaboration within and across our businesses, cultures and countries to build cohesiveness and raise performance.

In 2011, we designed an integrated graduate talent strategy to improve the way we attract, develop and retain graduates in our business.

We are committed to increasing the representation of women, and achieving a better balance in gender in the short term, and in ethnicity and nationality in the medium term. We are also committed to developing a more diverse leadership cadre, specifically to ensure that local nationals in emerging regions have the capability and experience to lead our operations.

Our Group diversity targets for 2015 are:

  • Women to represent 20 per cent of our senior management
  • Women to represent 40 per cent of our graduate intake
  • Fifteen per cent of our graduate intake to be nationals from regions where we are developing new businesses.

Transparency is part of our everyday work ethic. We conduct and act upon formal surveys that give our employees the opportunity to provide feedback on their experiences of the business and working environment. Our third employee engagement survey was administered in 2011, showing improvement in overall levels of employee engagement.

We also have Speak-OUT, a confidential, free telephone line for our people to bring any concerns to the attention of senior management.

In 2011, a strong focus continued on development at all levels within the Group to ensure effective and comprehensive leadership in support of our business objectives, while offering an integrated and customised suite of development programmes. A needs-based approach is applied to all of our people development activities, based on an analysis of the technical, functional and leadership skills required for each role. Leading at Rio Tinto, our leadership framework, provides employees with the key competencies and behaviours we expect from our leaders.

We offer our employees a rounded total rewards package, the principles of which are consistent across the Group. They are designed to be competitive, in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, and appropriately balanced in favour of variable pay linked to performance. Our global banding structure supports equity in both base salary and variable pay systems. Each role within our organisation is banded using the global banding structure and each band has a target variable pay opportunity.


In 2011, women represented 14 per cent of senior management, 18 per cent of our total workforce and 35 per cent of our graduate intake. Our graduate intake in 2011 included 21 per cent of nationals from regions where we are developing new business.

Throughout 2011, we remained the largest private sector employer of Indigenous Australians.

Regional distribution of employees

Regional distribution of employees chart

Approximately 870,000 attendances were recorded for training in leadership, technical and operational skills, and health, safety, and environment courses during 2011.

The participation in the global employee engagement survey increased across the Group; overall response rate was ten per cent higher than in 2010. There are notable improvements in our levels of engagement and increased confidence in the leadership and direction provided by Rio Tinto senior management.

As a result of the graduate talent strategy, we now have a Group graduate development framework that provides the foundation for how our graduates will be developed over their two year programme.

Over 500 people from across Rio Tinto participated in the graduate development programme in 2011.

back to top

Interactive charts

Filter and analyse our performance data.