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How can the oil and gas industry lead the change in gender diversity?

3rd November 2017 | Richard Goodall

How can the oil and gas industry lead the change in gender diversity?

Around the world, we’re seeing rapid changes in what were traditional roles, often associated with a particular gender. Industries previously occupied by men are now seeing more female entrants, breaking through to form a new generation of diverse professionals, particularly in science and technology companies. Talent managers planning their executive search and selection oil and gas strategies should ensure they’re creating equal opportunities for all genders, to guarantee a successful workforce. The latest generation of professional females working within STEM areas is continuing to push for wider representation within their industries. With women currently greatly underrepresented within the oil and gas industry, at around one-fifth, the industry must actively make changes to correct these imbalances. Moreover, the further inclusion of women has so far proven to yield positive results for businesses, with more women around the world driving positive change in the oil and gas industry. Women in the oil and gas industry When we consider the vast numbers of men that work in the industry and various connotations and reflections that women in the industry have presented about their experiences, it is critical for search and selection oil and gas professionals to reassure female candidates of safeguarding in place […]

Around the world, we’re seeing rapid changes in what were traditional roles, often associated with a particular gender. Industries previously occupied by men are now seeing more female entrants, breaking through to form a new generation of diverse professionals, particularly in science and technology companies. Talent managers planning their executive search and selection oil and gas strategies should ensure they’re creating equal opportunities for all genders, to guarantee a successful workforce.

The latest generation of professional females working within STEM areas is continuing to push for wider representation within their industries. With women currently greatly underrepresented within the oil and gas industry, at around one-fifth, the industry must actively make changes to correct these imbalances.
Moreover, the further inclusion of women has so far proven to yield positive results for businesses, with more women around the world driving positive change in the oil and gas industry.

Women in the oil and gas industry

When we consider the vast numbers of men that work in the industry and various connotations and reflections that women in the industry have presented about their experiences, it is critical for search and selection oil and gas professionals to reassure female candidates of safeguarding in place that will ensure their comfort in work. These talent managers need to actively be able to explain how their industry has progressed over time, in order to modernise and ensure fair treatment of all staff regardless of gender.
Talent managers should monitor an increase in women entering and studying the STEM subjects, particularly making connections with universities that are actively encouraging women to enter these subjects. Companies can ensure that their brand is associated with a positive working environment and driving change in balancing the genders within the industry, whilst creating future opportunities by working closely with those studying relevant subjects.
A July report, produced by the World Petroleum Council, revealed key findings that display the disparity between the number of men and women in the oil and gas workforce, particularly, the number of women reaching the top of the business hierarchy.
The overall percentage of women in the industry, working in positions of middle management and senior leadership, has seemingly declined rapidly from 25% to 17%. It was also revealed that although the genders often start out on equal footing, when entering the industry, men tend to reach the top of the organisation more frequently, in comparison to women, who rarely achieve this. This is likely owed to relatively fewer female candidates being offered more technical and operating roles, than their male colleagues.
Oil and gas companies need to incorporate a more inclusive approach to their search and selection efforts, which focus on obtaining representation for female workers higher up within their organisation. This could be seeking out a number of females to sit on the c-suite, in order improve representation and inspire other female STEM workers to join the industry at all levels. Furthermore, the industry must strive to encourage and recruit talented female workers across all types of roles within their business, without this, meaningful change will not occur.
Finally, the industry must activity breakdown perceptions that affect women working within it. For example, of the women surveyed for the report, 57% noted that they felt female employees receive less support than their male counterparts, in advancement to senior positions, with only 24% of men agreeing. 56% of women believe that women in the industry are overlooked for senior positions, whereas only 23% of men agreed with this statement.

How can the oil and gas industry take action?

  • Companies can actively encourage women to pursue the STEM subjects through ensuring they have representation within companies. They should also work with the government to ensure career paths are flexible and obtainable, removing structural barriers for women to work in the industry and securing vital female role models in prominent positions.
  • Mid-career level workers need to all receive assurance that they will receive the support to help them succeed, regardless of gender. Internal sponsors can ensure the success of their charge while managing life-balance policies following the receipt of feedback from employees.
  • Finally, the industry must provide those at senior-leadership level stretched goals and the necessary support to succeed. Those at senior level must also be offered a broad range of career paths to ensure equal positions for both men and women.

The importance of ensuring gender balance within not just the oil and gas industry, but across all industries, is reiterated by a co-author of the paper, Ivan Marten, a BCG senior partner. Marten states “Support for gender balance at the top is critical. Our study found that when men believe that the CEO considers gender diversity to be very unimportant, only 34% of them view it as important or very important. But when men believe that the CEO views the issue as very important, 86% of them likewise consider it important or very important. In the end, a commitment to gender balance needs to be part of the corporate strategy—and that commitment needs to be communicated by the CEO.”

At Goodall Brazier, we provide a bespoke service that sources only premium talent to fill your company’s vacant position. Our knowledge of search and selection within oil and gas industries, allows us to effectively source and identify the best candidates for your role. Contact us today to find out how we can work together.