Employees at Richards Bay Minerals

Talent, diversity and 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 build a culture of trust where our people feel safe, respected and empowered. 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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Pay equity

We strive to create an inclusive workplace where all people feel safe, respected and included
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Everyday Respect Report

In February 2022, we published a comprehensive external review of our workplace culture, commissioned as part of our commitment to ensure sustained cultural change across our global operations. The review was carried out by former Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick. It identified disturbing findings of bullying, sexual harassment, racism and other forms of discrimination throughout the company, which are linked to various human rights including rights to non-discrimination, just and favourable conditions of work and security of person.

The report, which outlines 26 detailed recommendations, will inform work being carried out to improve how we prevent and respond to discrimination and unacceptable workplace behaviour.

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.
  • Employee smiling at camera

    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

IIn many organisations, career progression means taking on responsibility for leading teams. But through our RioExcel program, 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 program, 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 program, explains how the program 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 2023

  • Year in review
  • Year in numbers

Year in review

We are finding better ways to live our values and build an environment of trust where everyone feels safe, respected and empowered. This is how we attract and retain world-class talent to our operations globally.

To help us understand how our people feel about the company and our direction, we conduct 2 annual Group-wide employee engagement surveys. More than 39,000 employees responded to our most recent survey in October 2023, and our employee satisfaction score (eSAT) increased to 74, from 73 in 2022.

We have made positive progress on key indicators aligned with everyday respect including authenticity, belonging, inclusion and speaking up.

We have more to do and will continue to focus on accountability and increasing collaboration inside and outside of our business.

Creating 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.

The representation of women across all levels in our business continues to be an important focus. In 2023, we saw an increase from 22.9% to 24.3% and further increases across all levels of the organisation, with senior leaders increasing from 28.3% to 30.1%, and operations and general support increasing from 16.2% to 17.7%.

Implementing the Everyday Respect Report recommendations remains our priority and we are confident that this will improve both the attraction and retention of women and other diverse groups to our business.

We continued to evolve our award-winning graduate program in 2023 and recruited our biggest cohort yet with 298 graduate roles. Of these, 51.7% in new graduate roles were women and 37.6% were from communities where we are building new businesses. In Australia, 10.6% of the graduate intake (down from 15% in 2022) and 13.8% of our vacation student program (up from 2.2% in 2022) were Indigenous.

In December 2023, we formalised our ambitions to increase representation of ethnic minorities setting a global target of 18% ethnic minority representation within our senior leadership population (Executive Committee direct reports) by the end of 2027.

Throughout 2023, we have also made it a priority to address safety and hygiene risks in our facilities with improvements to security, lighting and access to well-maintained restrooms and change rooms.

Developing our people

We continue to invest in our people. We know leaders play a critical role in shaping our culture and in 2023, our focus was on developing our leaders. We held 2 leadership conferences to bring our senior leaders together to reflect on our past, make further progress against our strategy and look at ways we can shape the future of our business.

In 2023, we continued to invest in personal leadership development through the Voyager program. This program has now been completed by 72% of our senior leaders.

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. Our 2023 equal pay gap is 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 2023, our gender pay gap was 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

2023 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 program 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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