Guest blog by Neil Tregarthen, CEO at NES Global Talent
The global focus on attracting more women into the oil and gas industry is not just about creating a more diverse workforce, it is of vital importance if we are to continue to serve the world’s growing energy needs. With demand for engineering expertise far outstripping supply and half the experienced engineering workforce set to retire in the next decade, the sector is facing a crippling skills shortage. In order to power future energy projects, the oil and gas industry must act now to fully tap into this enormous potential talent pool.
Our new report ‘Attracting and retaining women in oil and gas engineering – a survey examining the gender talent gap’ highlights some of the key issues and challenges women face in the global oil and gas industry and flags possible solutions to tackle this gender gap.
The survey findings reveal that women are taking a myriad of pathways to find careers in oil and gas, underscoring the opportunities the sector has to cross-train from ancillary industries as well as non-traditional disciplines. It also shows that in order to attract and retain female workers, the industry needs to improve its ability to provide mentorship, recognise workers equally and highlight the benefits of studying STEM subjects in schools and universities.
The encouraging news is that the vast majority of female employees feel welcome in the sector and say they would recommend a career in oil and gas engineering to others. However, 45% say they do not get the same recognition as men. There may be issues of perception and reality here, but undoubtedly the topic needs to be better managed, if the sector is to become more attractive to women.
Many respondents said they are paid less, have fewer opportunities than their male counterparts and have to work harder than men to prove themselves and again there are clear improvements to be made, if the oil and gas sector is to attract larger numbers of female engineers in the future.
Some 95% of respondents to the survey see mentors as important for career advancement, but 42% are not involved in any form of mentoring. In line with many other sectors and roles, the implementation of formal mentoring programmes would be an important step in supporting the most talented women engineers to progress to senior positions in the oil and gas industry and in doing so, become the role models of tomorrow.
The survey also found that 39% of respondents would consider taking less money in return for more work flexibility, with many citing a better work life balance and spending more time with the family as the main reasons.
NES Global Talent is committed to supporting women in the oil and gas engineering sector and working with its clients to help drive up the numbers of women working in the industry.