Employees at Richards Bay Minerals

Talent, Diversity & Inclusion

We are finding better ways to support and empower our people, which means creating an environment where everyone feels comfortable being themselves, has the courage to speak up if something is not right and listens to each other with care and curiosity.

We have launched a number of initiatives to evolve our culture, so our people feel safe, respected and included. They are supported to be the best they can be, to use their knowledge and experience to achieve our aspirations together.

We are committed to an inclusive environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves. We want our people to feel that all voices are heard, all cultures respected and that a variety of perspectives are not only welcome – they are essential to our success. We treat each other fairly and with dignity regardless of race, gender, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, age, sexual orientation or anything else that makes us different.

We also aim for a diverse workplace – not just because it is good for our business, but because it is the right thing to do. We are not where we want to be on gender diversity, and we have established targets to improve the number of women in our organisation, at all levels.

We are committed to Indigenous peoples having a stronger voice across our business. We are one of the largest employers of Indigenous Australians, with more than 1,500 Indigenous employees and contractors working across our Australian business, but we recognise that we have more work to do to increase representation in professional and leadership roles.

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Everyday Respect

We have a responsibility to create a safe, respectful and inclusive workplace

Our values

Our values – care, courage and curiosity – guide how we work and how we treat each other.

  • Teamwork at IOC

    Care: for people, for the communities in which we operate and for our environment

    We act with care by prioritising the physical and emotional safety and wellbeing of those around us. We respect others, build trusting relationships and consider the impact of our actions. We look for ways to contribute to a better future for our people, communities and the planet.
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    Courage: to try new things, speak up and do what’s right

    We act with courage by showing integrity, speaking up when something is not right and taking decisive action when needed. We are not afraid to try new things. We respond positively in difficult situations and demonstrate commitment to achieving shared goals.
  • Employee inspecting machinery

    Curiosity: to collaborate, learn and innovate

    We act with curiosity by inviting diverse ideas and collaborating to achieve more together than can be done alone. We are continuously learning, creatively looking for better and safer ways of doing things. We draw inspiration from others and the world around us.

Creating career pathways for technical experts

In many organisations, career progression means taking on responsibility for leading teams. But through our RioExcel programme, we offer our technical specialists an alternative career path – one where they can focus on building and sharing their expertise.



RioExcel is open to all technical experts in our business, and guides career development planning, recognition, and a challenging and rewarding path to progress within our company. Experts can apply to join the programme, and applications are assessed against five criteria: technical expertise, commercial and strategic outcomes, contribution to community knowledge, professional recognition as a thought leader, and living our values.

Brendan, our Head of Technical Excellence and leader of the RioExcel programme, explains how the programme supports career growth:

“With RioExcel, we’re looking for technical leadership and influencing skills. It’s not just about doing the work, but about bringing the organisation along on the journey and being able to pass on your knowledge to the next generation. There’s a structured process to how to assess the RioExperts, and it’s a rigorous process. Similar to the way science advances through a peer review process, the applications go to a senior assessment panel that reviews the information, benchmarks it to others in the organisation and then recognises them, if they’re successful, as a RioExpert.

“I remember having a conversation with someone, she was a young engineer, a world expert in her niche field. She was getting to the point where she couldn’t see much room for advancement. She’d done all she could do. When she was recognised as a RioExpert – almost the next day the phone started ringing because people knew what she had to offer. Suddenly she realised her horizons were much more vast. Getting to be part of that, and creating that opportunity, it’s been such a rewarding experience for me.

“It’s also been so fantastic to see when people come to the realisation of what collectively they can achieve as a community – because they’re multidisciplinary, they join forces and can solve really massive problems that had previously felt unsolvable – when I see the lights go on for people and they see what they can achieve together? It’s incredible.”

Progress in 2022

  • Year in review
  • Year in numbers

Year in review

At the beginning of the year, we reported the findings and recommendations from an independent review of our workplace culture to better understand, prevent and respond to harmful behaviours across our global operations. The Everyday Respect Report proposed 26 recommendations, all of which we are implementing. This is just one way we are evolving our culture to create a safe, respectful and inclusive workplace.

To help us understand how our people feel about the company and our direction, we conduct two annual Group-wide employee engagement surveys. Close to 36,000 employees participated in our latest survey in October 2022, and our employee satisfaction score (eSAT)1 improved from 71 in 2021 to 73.

The feedback shows that the changes we are making are moving us in the right direction. Evolving a culture takes time and commitment. Continuing to focus on the evolution of our culture will remain a key priority for everyone in 2023.

Building an inclusive and diverse workforce

Having an inclusive and diverse workforce is a competitive advantage. It will enable us to find better ways to do things and ensure that we reflect the communities where we work.

In 2022, we extended our family-friendly policies by updating our global standard for paid parental leave to meet differing family needs, ensuring that all new parents are eligible for 18 weeks minimum paid parental leave. We have been working on increasing the representation of Indigenous employees in our business and ensuring they have a stronger voice. In 2022, we partnered with the Australian Graduate School of Management at the University of New South Wales to deliver the RioInspire programme (formerly known as the Emerging Indigenous Executive Leaders programme).

The programme has been tailored to focus on developing executive-ready Indigenous leaders who will have an influential role in shaping the future of our business. The first group of Rio Tinto Indigenous leaders completed the globally recognised, six-month programme in April 2022.

We continue to focus on the representation of women across all levels in our business. In 2022, we increased the representation of women in our workforce from 21.6% to 22.9%. We hired 2,982 women in the last 12 months, an 18% increase on 2021. We continued to evolve our award-winning graduate programme in 2022 and recruited our biggest cohort yet with 265 graduate roles. Of these, 53.2% were women and 36% were from nationalities where we are building new businesses2. In Australia, 15% of the graduate intake (up from 10% in 2021) and 2.2% of our vacation student programme (down from 15% in 2021) were Indigenous.

Developing our people

We continue to invest in our people. Through the Safe Production System (SPS), we are empowering people to develop and share sustainable, best-practice solutions to define how to work safely and optimally. In 2022, our focus has been on upskilling our people with technical knowledge on best practices and encouraging the right mindsets and behaviours to better engage our people. To set us up for a continued successful and rapid rollout of SPS in 2023, we have now trained 20 Mindset and Behaviour Coaches and 218 Change Partners, and certified 61 leaders in SPS deployments.

We know leaders play a critical role in shaping our culture. In 2022, we continued to invest in personal leadership development through the Voyager programme. And as at 31 December 2022, more than 300 senior leaders have experienced the Voyager journey.

We have also expanded our technical expertise and now have 130 people formally recognised as a technical RioExpertTM through our RioExcelTM programme. And in partnership with LinkedIn Learning, we launched an online energy and climate change curriculum for employees who want to understand more about how they can contribute to reducing both Rio Tinto’s and their personal carbon footprint.

Ensuring equality through pay equity

Ensuring that employees with similar skills, knowledge, qualifications, experience and performance are paid equally for the same or comparable work is intrinsically linked to our commitment to inclusion and diversity.

Our equal pay gap, the primary lens we use when assessing gender pay, measures the extent to which women and men employed by our company in the same location and performing work of equal value receive the same pay. In 2022, we further reduced our equal pay gap compared to 2021, which is now 1% in favour of men.

Gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between the average earnings of women and men across the Group (excluding incentive pay), regardless of role, expressed as a percentage of men’s earnings. In 2022, our gender pay gap was just over 1% in favour of women, consistent with previous years.

We are committed to eliminating any residual pay inequities based on gender or other non-legitimate dimensions of difference.

Women at Rio Tinto


Total workforce


Board of Directors


Executive Committee


Senior leadership


Graduate intake


Frontline operators

2022 figures. Total workforce refers to managed operations.

$50 million to attract, retain and support the development of Indigenous employees across Australia

We are:

  • Changing our hiring practices by focusing on an Indigenous candidate’s potential, not their mining experience
  • Introducing a cultural onboarding programme to ensure leaders have the skills they need to support Indigenous employees
  • Pairing Indigenous employees with senior leaders and providing career coaching for employees while also developing leaders’ cultural competence
  • Supporting employees’ growth and development by identifying skill gaps and working with each employee to create a career plan, including further education
  • Growing cultural competency through cultural awareness training, and where possible, cultural immersion opportunities on Country or through working directly with Indigenous businesses and organisations
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