BP, an international oil and gas company, and Rigzone, leading online resource for the oil and gas industry, examined female representation in the energy workplace from the perspective of 3,000 oil and gas professionals.
While nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) believed oil and gas remains a male-dominated industry, and there is still a lot of progress to be made, the majority of energy professionals said it was quite or very important for the oil and gas industry to ensure it is attractive to women. This finding is particularly relevant given nearly nine out of ten survey respondents were male.
“We want women to know that the oil and gas industry has made tremendous strides in recent years and that it offers opportunities not provided by other sectors. Whether working internationally or domestically, onshore or offshore, the possibilities are endless," said Kirsty Bashforth, Group Head of Organisational Effectiveness, BP, adding that while the industry still has work to do in terms of a gender balanced pool of talent, the results of this survey demonstrate that industry initiatives and programs to engage women about careers in oil and gas are making an impact and we need to keep focused for them to continue to do so.”
The industry’s progress may be most notable in respondents’ thoughts about the future. More than 60% said they expect the greatest increases in female representation to be among professionals just entering the industry and those early in their career.
The survey uncovered the barriers and challenges women frequently face in the oil and gas industry, as well as potential solutions for increasing female representation.
One in five (20%) strongly agreed gender based discrimination occurs within the industry and respondents cited societal conditioning, a lack of qualified candidates and family care responsibilities as most significant barriers to increasing the proportion of women in the industry.
Implementing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programmes in schools, offering flexible working arrangements and implementing company goals to encourage an improved gender balance were cited as the most important ways to increase female representation.
“We’ll never have the best industry if we can’t attract the best talent regardless of gender,” said Paul Caplan, President of Rigzone. “While barriers still exist and companies can do more to ensure fairness, an oil and gas career offers tremendous global career opportunities, complex problems to solve and above average pay – all reasons talented professionals should consider energy first.”