'More to be done' on gender balance in oil and gas sector

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Three-quarters of women working in the oil and gas sector say they feel welcome in the industry. Despite this only 45% still don't believe they receive the same recognition as men.

The findings are taken from a NES Global Talent Survey, which is based on responses from almost 300 female engineers globally. Attracting and Retaining Women in Oil and Gas Engineering suggests long-term prospects for women in the sector are generally positive, with 82% reporting they plan to stay in the industry for two to five years. 

Despite the encouraging figures, NES Global Talent associate director for UK client development Rebecca Ridley told HR magazine there is "more work to be done" on gender balance in the sector. 

"We still need to make progress on areas such as equal pay and eliminating unconscious bias," she said. "For some roles, such as off-shore jobs, women are still not getting the opportunities because managers just aren't considering them."

Ridley also highlighted the need for strong mentoring programmes to help women develop their careers in the oil and gas sector and engineering careers. The report suggests 95% of women see this as an important factor in promoting equality in the industry, although only 58% are involved either as a mentor or mentee. 

"Fewer than 10% of engineers in this country, if you take the strictest definition of the role, are female," she said. "There is no doubt that work needs to be done to increase this figure. Mentoring, along with informing girls in education about their options in STEM subjects, is a good way to develop a pipeline of female talent."

Dawn Bonfield, executive VP of the Women's Engineering Society (WES), said developing women when they are in the industry is also a priority. 

"We need to step up promotion to make it clear that engineering offers just as much for women as it does for men," she said

"By encouraging girls into engineering careers we will not only be increasing diversity and inclusion – a business imperative – but enabling us to fill the substantial future job opportunities that have been predicted in this sector."

Mythbusters: Getting to the heart of gender diversity

HR magazine is hosting an online panel discussion that explores common myths about gender diversity and how to place diversity at the heart of corporate culture.

The debate takes place at 1pm on Monday, 21 July, and is free to watch. All you need to do is register at: Getting to the heart of gender diversity

HR magazine deputy editor Katie Jacobs will be joined by KPMG partner Melanie Richards, Cranfield University School of Management professor of women and leadership Susan Vinnicombe and Norton Rose Fulbright global director of people and talent development Andrew MacEachern.

Our experts will discuss:

  • What are the most common myths around women in business?
  • If it isn’t motherhood holding women back, what are the main problems?
  • Why are common HR processes like high potentials programmes failing women?
  • How can HR tackle entrenched gender roles and biases?
  • How can you measure and track this?
  • Where do you place accountability: should leaders be judged and rewarded on what they do to promote female talent and increase diversity?
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