October 2023

Increasing Gender Diversity in Heavy Industry

Empowering Change: How One of Australia’s Leading Energy Companies Led the Charge Towards Diversity in their Industry.

In the world of heavy industry, where workforces are traditionally male dominated, one of Australia’s leading energy and fuel providers wanted to make a change. Their journey toward increasing gender diversity was not only about transforming their workforce but also about reshaping the industry’s future.

Our client, a major player in the energy sector, faced a common challenge in many blue-collar industries—a predominantly male workforce and a recruitment process that favoured candidates with like-for-like industry experience. This culture made it exceedingly difficult to increase diversity and female representation within the workforce. Recognising the need for change, our clients People and Culture team set a strategic mission to enhance accountability and shift the workforce away from the “job for life” mentality and increase diversity within the organisation.

Over a three-year period, JK Personnel partnered with them to launch a series of Operator Recruitment Drives with clear strategic objectives in place.


Seizing the Opportunity for Change

Our client recognised an unprecedented opportunity within their existing workforce. The prospect of a significant number of retirements over the next five years within their operations workforce presented a unique chance to diversify their talent pool. This would mean a large-scale recruitment drive over an extended period to really solidify any sort of meaningful change in diversity.


Leadership Commitment and Vision 

For any transformation to occur, leadership buy-in is essential. Fortunately, in our client’s case, the leadership team and in particular the CEO, was the driving force behind this transformation.

It was through this innovation leadership team that the initiative was able to take off, setting an example for other players in the industry to follow in their footsteps.

As one of Australia’s leading energy providers our client was able to recognise the true value of diversity. They knew that diversity isn’t just about meeting quotas; it’s about fostering innovation and problem-solving. In a refinery setting, where constant adaptation and troubleshooting are key, diversity was more than a moral imperative; it would become a strategic advantage.


Building Momentum for Change

Recognising that significant change required significant momentum, our client was determined to lead the way in transforming the industry. They began recruiting with the view of increasing female representation in their workforce, but found the workload was immense, with thousands of applications flooding in. They quickly realised the necessity of external assistance to navigate this flood of interest and enlisted the support of our consultants at JK Personnel to assist them with their initiative.


Balancing Bias and Innovative Recruitment

To address the gender imbalance, each recruitment drive aimed for a 50% female representation from the shortlisting stage through to hiring. This bold step was a departure from the conventional approach and signalled a commitment to inclusivity. To do this it was important to remove any unconscious gender biasing, right from the start with the job ads, all the way through to candidate screening and interviews. With the support of our client, we were also able to introduce part-time positions which research has shown increases female participation in the recruitment process.

One of the most significant innovations during the recruitment drives was the introduction of success profiling as a selection tool. This tool helped remove biases from the recruitment process by focusing on identifying candidates based on their potential, competencies, and skills rather than relying solely on past like-for-like industry experience.



The result of our client’s vision, leadership, and commitment to diversity was the successful completion of six recruitment drives, all achieving the minimum 50% female representation goal. In total, 42 females were hired into operator teams. This was an incredible shift from a previously all-male workforce.

As their supporting recruitment partner, we were privileged to support them along the way, and be a part of an innovative and inclusive endeavour. We are proud to have been able to be a part of their team as they not only transformed their own workforce but set an example for the entire industry.



If your business could benefit from partnering with us to increase diversity in your workplace, send us a message. We’d love to be a part of your initiative.


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