What it does: Mines things
Staff stats: Around 14,000 globally
The good bits: Bespoke grad programs
The not so good bits: Shift work, long hours
The South32 story
A relatively new resources company, South32 was demerged from BHP Billiton in May 2015. Headquartered in Perth, the company mines alumina, aluminium, bauxite, coal, lead, manganese, nickel, silver and zinc across three continents. It is also the world’s largest producer of manganese ore. It has operations in Australia, Africa and South America.
South32 marketing office is based in Singapore, with support offices in London, South Africa and Australia. Securities for South32 trade on the ASX, Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and London Stock Exchange (LSE). In 2017, the company’s underlying earnings were US$1.1 billion.
The company’s aim is to have the “right people in the right roles, who are engaged, empowered and appropriately rewarded”. It has operations around the world and its workforce reflects the demographic make-up of the communities where it operates.
The company believes “an inclusive workplace… [makes] good business sense”. It has set itself ambitious diversity targets. These include upping the percentage of (Indigenous) Africans, Coloureds and Indians in its South African workforce, improving the gender balance of its workforce (including at senior levels) and achieving gender pay equity.
To achieve these goals, the company has “implemented flexible work arrangements”, allocated “substantial amounts to salary increases to address the gender pay gap”, “mounted campaigns to attract female and Indigenous applicants” and educated “line leaders to effectively manage a diverse workforce and recognise unconscious bias.”
South32 aims to be part of the communities it operates in, through investment and by listening to those affected by its operations. The company funds educational services, the provision of facilities and other community resources and campaigns addressing local medical issues.
South32’s corporate social responsibility initiatives include working with Landcare Australia to help students learn about protecting the environment; helping fund a Maths, Science and Technology Academy in South Africa and sponsoring the Tamar Valley Writers’ Festival Schools Day Program.
The company also has an employee volunteer program “which encourages out people to give back to their local communities”.
The company has a sustainability policy which aligns with the International Council on Metals and Mining (ICMM) Sustainable Development Framework. Through a range of initiatives and activities, South32 also contributes to the advancement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The recruitment process
South32 looks for “enthusiastic and creative graduates”. Ones who can take the initiative and make a contribution in some of the largest mines in Australia and around the world. Those from a range of disciplines are recruited given the business requires engineers, data analysts, site managers, health and safety officers, planners and operators.
The company looks for strong academic performers. Ones who are responsible and predisposed to look for smarter ways to do things. While not essential, it’s a good idea to do one of the company’s 12-week, Christmas break internships if you’re looking to get into its grad program. If you’re interested in either an internship or grad position, you should register for job alerts and keep an eye on the job opportunities page on the company website.
There’s not much information available about the recruitment process. It appears that after online applications are made, those who are shortlisted are invited to sit for one or more interviews. Depending on the role being advertised, there may also be some online testing involved.
Those who get an offer then play a part in designing a grad program tailored to their academic background and career ambitions. This program takes 2-3 years to complete. It will let you “gain exposure to world-class operations, develop technically, grow personally and professionally, receive multiple layers of dedicated support from graduate buddies to senior leaders and extend your network with global colleagues.”
South32 offers “competitive salaries” though what you’ll earn as a grad will depend on what field you’re working in. For example, HR, supply and finance based grads are on high $60's and those in Science/Engineering based disciplines are on mid $80's (with plenty of opportunities to crack six figures within a few years). South32 offers staff access to an employee share plan, performance-based bonuses and access to additional employer-paid superannuation contributions. Fly-in-fly-out travel allowances are provided too. Where applicable - a number of our opportunities are residential so relocation may be provided but no ongoing allowance.
As part of its efforts to encourage staff to “look for smarter and better ways to do things”, the company “invests in their continual development and learning” and encourages them to “reach their full potential”. The company is big on win-win arrangements, be it with its customers, host communities or staff. So, if you put the necessary effort in you can expect to be rewarded with commensurate pay rises and promotions.
The vibe of the place
As a recently formed company, South32 corporate culture is a work in progress. But whatever that culture is, staff seem to appreciate it given there is only a 2.8 per cent voluntary turnover rate. Like many companies, South32 proclaims “our people are key to our success”. Unlike many companies, South32 actually appears to believe this. It makes a significant effort to gather feedback from employees and address any concerns they have. If you’re looking for a socially and environmentally responsible, forward-thinking resource industry employer, South32 could be for you.
Star rating: 4.1/5
From the Employer:
"South32 is a globally diversified metals and mining company with operations in Australia, Southern Africa and South America. We mine and produce bauxite, alumina, aluminium, energy and metallurgical coal, manganese, nickel, silver, lead and zinc.
Our purpose is to make a difference by developing natural resources, improving people's lives now and for generations to come.
Each year we look for enthusiastic and creative graduates to join our team. At South32, we like to think we do things differently so, if you join our graduate programme, you will be one of a small cohort with a bespoke programme designed specifically for you. You will be matched with a member of our leadership team who will work with you to create opportunities that are aligned to your interests and strengths, providing you with the sound technical and professional development to kick-start your career.
Our reason for doing this is simple: we are looking for our future managers and technical leaders. We will provide you the opportunity to demonstrate your capability and potential at the start of your career and prepare you to be a high performer that will help our business succeed now and into the future.
Why choose us?
We are always seeking people who share our values to join our team. Our people are fundamental to our success. We’re focussed on creating an inclusive workplace, with the right people in the right roles, who are engaged, empowered and appropriately rewarded..
We’re a young thinking company that can give you the start you’re looking for. We value difference, and openly listen to each other and those outside our company, knowing that together we are better."