Diversity and Inclusion – a business advantage

Gender diversity in engineering and in the mining industry

Engineering is traditionally a male-dominated field of study. And while steps have been taken to help integrate women into engineering and mining, they are still vastly underrepresented. To learn how diversity and inclusion can be integrated on sites we interviewed Päivi Kautiainen, Director Engineering Services at Sandvik.

Päivi Kautiainen has worked in several engineering and R&D roles in Sandvik’s global environment and was recently awarded the internal Diamond award as a recognition of her inclusive leadership, focusing on creating diverse, innovative, creative and high-performing teams.

What are your main responsibilities as Director Engineering Services?
It’s a research and development role where I lead people from a number of cultural backgrounds with focus on collaboration with the entire organization in a global context.

Why is there such a strong case to be made for getting more women involved in engineering and in the mining industry?
Research supports the fact that women contribute greatly to the bottom line of engineering and mining companies. At senior levels women make mining companies more efficient and profitable, they make companies more sustainable in the long term and also increase shareholder returns. At a local level employing women has proven to significantly increase efficiency, and it also solidifies mining companies’ social license to operate.

Technology is developing so rapidly that we need the most competent people, no matter the gender, ethnicity, sexuality, age etc. Also, there is no longer a justification for men to hold engineering positions or even almost any position as automation, digitalization and development is making the work more flexible and less dependent on physical strength.

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How can the mining industry attract more women and improve its diversity?
We need to change our perceptions about what men and women can or can’t do, should or shouldn’t do and look at competencies and potential beyond that in order to attract and retain a diverse workforce. Also, we need to change the perception of the mining industry which takes time and effort. And we need to continue the strategic and structured work on all levels to ensure diversity and inclusion, in all aspects.

What are the risks if companies within engineering and mining don’t work successfully with diversity and inclusion?
I think they risk falling behind, not keeping up with development and of course they will also appear less attractive from an outside perspective. That is also something that has contributed to putting pressure on the industry, the digital landscape, social media and communication across the globe makes us realize what goes on in parts of the world that previously could work in the dark.

Watch Päivi Kautiainen develop her thoughts about diversity and inclusion in the video above.

Päivi Kautiainen

Director Engineering Services
Started working at Sandvik: 2011 
Residence: Tampere, Finland

Current role

Director Engineering Services at the Rock Drills and Technology division at Sandvik Mining and Rock Technology. Responsible for the Design Center in Bangalore, India and Engineering Services at multiple Sandvik locations. Also responsible for three teams based in Europe, working with global R&D processes and tools.

Previous roles at Sandvik:

R&D Director in Loading and Hauling Division, Product Safety Competence Center Manager, Engineering Manager, Product Safety Engineer.

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