Creating enduring value beyond mining

Fit-for-purpose workforce

In a year still dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, keeping our people safe, healthy and productive was our driving focus.

As a Company, we successfully managed a hybrid working environment, with our workforce on site and administrative and office staff working from home. In the latter part of the year, we saw a gradual transition back to the office as the Covid-19 protocols in the regions allowed. Our new ways of working were stress tested and the resilience of the workforce was clearly demonstrated.

We also advanced our diversity and inclusion strategy; updated and modernised our talent and job architecture as part of our drive to attract, develop and retain top skills; and continued to prioritise the number of employees from our host communities.

A key focus in 2021 was the announcement of a long-term target of 30% female gender representation by 2030, which has been widely communicated. While Gold Fields already ranks highly in comparison with other mining companies in terms of gender representation, there is significant room for further improvements.

Gold Fields' workforce of 22,110 people comprises 16,153 contractors – this is significantly higher than in previous years due to the construction of our Salares Norte project in Chile, which is almost exclusively carried out by contracted firms employing over 4,000 people. Beyond this, the composition of the key demographic groups among our workforce remained stable during 2021 when compared with previous years. Women account for 22% of our total Group workforce and 23% of our leadership positions. In total, 75% of employees in South Africa are Historically Disadvantaged Persons (HDPs) and just 1% of employees at our Ghanaian operations are expatriates.

The Group's long-term focus on host community employment also changed our workforce profile, and host community members comprise 54% of our workforce (2020: 53%). Importantly, this aligns with our strategy of creating value for the communities in the regions where we operate in Host communities.

Workforce by Group and region (end-December)

Employees Contractors Proportion of
  2021 2021 2020 2021 2020 2021
Americas 6,903 639 568 6,264 3,700 98%
Australia 3,440 1,773 1,668 1,667 1,330 77%
South Africa 4,510 2,317 2,226 2,193 1,801 86%
West Africa 7,138 1,109 1,063 6,029 5,940 99%
Corporate 119 119 116 0 0 72%
Total 22,110 5,957 5,641 16,153 12,771 87%
1 Employees only

Key human resources metrics (end-December)

Category 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017
Total workforce
22,110 18,412 17,656 17,611 18,594
Historically Disadvantaged Persons (HDPs)          
employees (%)1 75 73 59 72 71
HDPs employees – senior management (%)1 53 51 52 43 57
Minimum wage ratio2 1.78 1.71 1.97 2.40 2.43
Female employees (%) 22 20 20 19 16
Ratio of basic salary men to women 1.30 1.31 1.14 1.25 1.25
Employee wages and benefits (US$m)3 463 412 395 442 506
Average training spend per employee (US$) 1,397 1,211 1,912 2,469 2,258
Employee turnover (%) 12 6 16 354 6
1 South Deep and Corporate Office only: Excluding foreign nationals but including white females
2 Entry-level wage compared with local minimum wage. This ratio excludes Ghana, as the region only employs management-level employees with the transition to contractor mining
3 This excludes benefits paid to employees working on capital projects
4 High turnover due to South Deep restructuring and transition to Tarkwa contractor mining


The Covid-19 pandemic continued to challenge our people and operations, and is set to continue doing so during 2022, albeit less severely. It has taken a terrible toll on our employees – as at mid-March 2022, 20 employees or contractors have tragically passed away after contracting the virus, while 6,599 of our colleagues tested positive for Covid-19.

Vaccination remains our primary defence against the impact of the virus and, by mid-March 2022, 84% of our employees and contractors were already fully vaccinated while a further 31% already received their booster jabs. Our Western Australian mines introduced mandatory vaccination for all job categories in line with government policies. At South Deep, we implemented a risk-based mandatory vaccination approach, in terms of which employees in higher risk categories have to be vaccinated. In Ghana, Chile and Peru, mandatory vaccination is not yet permitted.

Apart from vaccination campaigns, we continue to support our workforce through, among other things, educational awareness programmes, stringent safety protocols, rapid testing and offering medical assistance if they contract the virus.

During 2021, our operations spent approximately US$29m on Covid-19- related initiatives and interventions, such as specialised camp accommodation, testing equipment and facilities, additional labour costs and transport facilities. This includes US$2m in donations to assist governments and communities in their fight against the pandemic, as well as a US$5m Covid-19 levy in Ghana. In 2020, total Covid-19- related spending to about US$33m.

As a result of the high rate of Covid-19 infections, South Deep in South Africa and Cerro Corona in Peru were the most affected during 2021, mostly due to the impact of government-imposed regulations to curb the spread. However, the impact on overall Group production was limited to just under 30koz.

At our Salares Norte project in Chile, the Company had to cater for an additional 2,000-plus contractors on site during the construction process. This was facilitated successfully, with no major Covid-19-related delays to the construction programme to date.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, a Group Exco Covid-19 Crisis Management Team has met regularly to coordinate actions and strategies to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on our operations. Regional and site committees performed similar roles. The Board's Risk Committee has also been meeting regularly to provide governance oversight.

The mental health of our employees during lockdown and isolation was also a key consideration during the year, particularly among office and administrative staff who worked mostly from home. All employees have access to free, confidential counselling and support services all hours of the day. While some employees found remote work challenging, others embraced it. The Group and regions are reviewing Gold Fields' flexible work policies during 2022.

Covid-19 will undoubtedly continue to disrupt our operations and people during 2022, though the impact will likely be less severe.


As part of developing Gold Fields' new strategic priorities – which includes a commitment to enhance our ESG priorities and prepare for more mechanised and digitised mines – we need to adjust to new ways of working, such as:

  • Building a diverse and inclusive workplace
  • Enabling cultural transformation
  • Attracting, retaining and developing the right skills

Our training and development efforts focus on equipping our people with the skills required by an evolving mechanised, modernised and automated mining industry. In 2021, we invested US$1,397 per employee in training (2020: US$1,211). In response to increased virtual working, we raised the number of online training courses to enable our employees to access learning content easily. We also advanced our virtual reality training in operations like South Deep, and modernised training content and delivery mechanisms.

Our Leadership Competency Framework is an important part of our talent attraction and leadership development strategy. It focuses on leadership's ability to create an inclusive and enabling culture, demonstrating leadership excellence and building a credible brand. During 2021, we incorporated further competencies required to address the critical ESG issues in the Company.

Critical role turnover for the Group was 3.5% against a target of 5%. This was higher in Western Australia, where the restrictions on labour movement to the state during the pandemic increased competition for and recruitment of WA-based skills between mining companies.

Attracting the next generation of workers to the mining industry is a key focus, and we therefore continue to track the age profile of our workforce. Competitive benefits, flexible working arrangements and opportunities for growth, development and mentorship are, inter alia, aimed at attracting a diverse set of skills.

We continued to move HR processes to digital platforms that allow for employee self-service, enhanced mobile systems for engagement and performance management, and e-learning and big data analytics to track peoplerelated metrics.


During 2021, as part of our efforts to modernise our talent strategy and attract and retain the right people in Gold Fields, we focused on developing a Group-wide job architecture that details the knowledge, skills, qualifications, behavioural and technical competencies required for all jobs in Gold Fields. This architecture maps out career pathways available to employees and creates greater transparency for employees on the role requirements and assists line managers and their teams to design appropriate development plans.

The job architecture not only talks to current role requirements, but also some of the new emerging roles and competencies we will require as a business to deliver against our strategy.

This approach to talent management we believe is not only attractive to employees but also helps create line manager capability in developing others.


Gold Fields recognises that the diversity and talent of our people will support our efforts in developing and retaining a diverse and talented workforce to ensure business growth and performance.

At the same time, having a sound and equitable diversity and inclusion strategy benefits individual employees and our organisation as a whole, while also addressing societal expectations – particularly in terms of greater gender diversity.

Our diversity and inclusion strategy, launched in 2019, has three focus areas – workforce diversity, workplace inclusion, and sustainability and accountability – and sets a roadmap for how we can achieve our business and people goals over a five-year period.

In setting targets for diversity and inclusion, Gold Fields focused on representation across all aspects of the employee lifecycle, including attraction, development, promotion and attrition. In doing this, we can ensure we identify our diversity gaps at a more comprehensive level. This allows us to target actions at the areas and employee lifecycle points where we need to improve.

We developed a diversity and inclusion dashboard that captures and measures all aspects of representation across the employee lifecycle, including:

  • Diversity workforce profile
  • Retention
  • Talent management
  • Inclusive mindset (cultural aspects that foster a diverse and inclusive workplace)

The dashboard seeks to measure lead indicators such as succession planning, climate survey results, risk of staff departures and other key factors that drive our workforce make-up in the long term. We believe that this focus on lead indicators represents a more comprehensive approach to achieving a workforce that reflects the demographics of the countries in which we operate, while at the same time addressing the skills needs of modern, automated gold mines.

We will continue to focus on increasing female representation within Gold Fields and, in December 2021, announced a 30% female gender representation target by 2030.

All our regions have been tasked with comprehensively reviewing and setting targets for:

  • Percentage of our workforce classified as women
  • Percentage of women in leadership roles (D-band and above)
  • Percentage of women in core mining roles

Importantly, these targets will be used for the first time to determine long-term incentive awards and will rely on a strong gender bias in terms of skills development, internal promotions and recruitment of new talent.

Across our global workforce, 22% of Gold Fields' employees are women (2020: 20%). Some 54% work in core mining activities, while 23% of our leadership teams are women (2020: 21%). Three out of our 10 Board members are women, including the outgoing Chairperson.

While these numbers indicate plenty of room for improving gender diversity, we have come some way over the past five years. In 2016, only 16% of our workforce were women, 15% at management level and only 8% of our women worked in core mining roles.

Among other key statistics for 2021 is the ratio of basic salary for men to women, which was 1.30 in 2021 (2020: 1.31). Among employees exiting the business during 2021, 23% (2020: 22%) were women and 77% men (2020: 78%).

Gold Fields was also included in the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI) for the fourth year in a row. We were one of 418 companies globally included in the 2022 GEI.


Over the past 12 months, there has been an alarming number of reports of women working in the Western Australian resources industry who have been sexually harassed, assaulted or discriminated against in other ways. In February 2022, Rio Tinto released a report that highlighted widespread sexual harassment and violence across its global operations.

As a result of these developments, the Western Australian government commenced a Parliamentary Inquiry into the treatment of women in the resources industry. This is ongoing. While the focus of public attention has been on the Western Australian mining sector, we believe this is a fundamental issue at mines globally.

We also recognise that sexual assault, sexual harassment, discrimination and less favourable treatment towards women is a societal issue, and we firmly believe Gold Fields, as a subset of society, will also need to work to manage these issues. However, as we have demonstrated with safety, our Company can develop a stronger, more positive culture which, we believe, can be a positive contributor to a shift in culture in the areas and communities surrounding our operations.

In 2021, our Australian region conducted an external review into this matter, along with a separate internal review into inclusivity and diversity within our business. From this process, our Australian business has established that instances of sexual harassment, violence and discrimination have taken place in our business.

The region has prepared a detailed action plan, which is currently being implemented to ensure all employees – including women and other underrepresented groups – have a respectful, safe and inclusive workplace.

Over the past few years, we have implemented a number of programmes and initiatives at Group level that, we believe, are important tools to address sexual harassment directly and the issues underlying it. These include:

  • Proactively recruiting and promoting women and members of other disadvantaged groups
  • Supporting programmes that seek to combat gender-based violence in our society and the workplace
  • Communication campaigns to educate the workforce on our stance on sexual harassment
  • Upgrading living facilities at our sites where employees reside in mine accommodation
  • Developing a diversity and inclusion dashboard
  • Developing a diversity policy and rolling out unconscious bias training
  • Launching a new Harassment and Sexual Harassment Policy
  • Rolled out an e-learning module on diversity and harassment
  • Conducting climate surveys and providing a safe space for our employees to speak up

In response to the Rio Tinto report and the work already conducted by our Australian region, we will commission a comprehensive and independent review of these matters across the rest of our operations.

This will include a review of how to create an environment in which women and other underrepresented groups can come forward and disclose their experiences as well as an update of our policies and standards.

Underpinning this work is an understanding by all Gold Fields employees that any form of sexual assault, sexual harassment or any other form of bullying, discrimination or poor treatment towards any person in our business, is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.


We remain committed to engaging with our workforce on all material issues that affect them. We uphold employees' rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, and ensure our contractors also abide by these standards.

Trade union membership among our employees is 73% at South Deep, while, in Peru, 24% of our direct workforce and 8% of the contractor workforce are unionised. In Chile, 8% of our employees belong to a trade union. In Ghana, we have no union members among employees due to our transition to contractor mining at Tarkwa and Damang. Contractor union membership in Ghana is estimated to be 86%.

In Australia, an estimated 3% – 6% of employees belong to unions. In March 2022, the overwhelming majority of employees at Gold Fields' Australian operations supported a new four-year Enterprise Agreement, which includes a comprehensive package of benefits such as enhanced parental leave, early access to long-service leave entitlements, and a new paid cultural leave entitlement for Indigenous Australian employees. The package also includes new site allowances and a retention bonus.

While union relationships have historically been strained at South Deep, we continue to foster a positive working relationship that is embodied in a three-year wage agreement signed in 2021, and in our joint efforts to mitigate the impacts of Covid-19 on our workforce.


Our remuneration structures are designed to stimulate and incentivise high performance through market-related base pay and benefits, attractive performance-driven incentives, as well as recognition and retention programmes. The core objective of our Remuneration Policy is to attract, retain and motivate top talent to deliver superior results.

The Company is acutely aware of the global concern around excessive executive remuneration, fair and responsible remuneration between management and junior-level employees, as well as pay disparities between genders. We believe our approach to short and long-term remuneration is substantively fair and consistently applied throughout the Group.

Gold Fields' Remuneration Policy drives and incentivises the achievement of our strategy, and continuously supports the creation of stakeholder value by aligning performance with commensurate levels of reward. In this way, we align stakeholder interests. For the first time this year, our incentive structures included ESG targets in the area of climate change and diversity.For details of our Remuneration Policy and 2021 remuneration and incentive payments to executives and directors, refer to our Remuneration Report in our 2021 AFR, which can be accessed at integrated-annual-reports.php