45% of Women Oil, Gas Engineers Want Same Recognition as Males

A survey among female oil and gas engineers shows that almost half believe they do not get the same recognition as their male colleagues.

The survey – "Attracting and Retaining Women in Oil and Gas Engineer", which was released Wednesday by recruitment firm NES Global Talent – found that although 75 percent of women engineers feel welcome in the oil and gas industry, 45 percent of them want the same recognition as male engineers.

Despite this, more than four-fifths of the 272 respondents to the survey said that they plan to stay in the industry during the next two-to-five years.

NES said that the survey highlighted the need for the industry to improve the provision of mentors, recognize workers equally and promote the benefits of girls and young women studying STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects in schools and universities if it is to attract and retain female workers. 95 percent of the respondents believe mentors are important for career advancement in the oil and gas industry, yet 42 percent said they were neither a mentor nor a mentee.

NES Global Talent CEO Neil Tregarthen commented in a company statement:

"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."

This latest survey into women engineers follows December's Review of Engineering Skills by the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills that highlighted that for the UK to develop the engineering skills it needs in the long term, the right messages about opportunities in engineering need to reach people at a young age and girls in particular.

Rigzone released its own report in December that showed that female representation in the global oil and gas industry is on the rise.


A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at jmainwaring@rigzone.com


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Jill | Mar. 15, 2014
I have to admit things have got a LOT better (at least in the USA) since I started in the oilfield back in 1978. Yes, we have a lot more women going to school for these subjects. Yes, we have a lot more women working in these areas. And yes, we do still have a lot of differences for women vs men out there in the real world. I work in the maritime industry. I spend a lot of time on workboats, drillships, etc. I still see many times where women do not get the same respect as a man would in their position. I still see where women do not get the same opportunities as a man would. I do have to say, I do not see any difference in wages (which is a good thing). As to the earlier comment about women dropping everything to follow their husband, all I can say about that is I know I have worked WAY too hard to get where I am in my career to drop it all for anybody or anything! WOW! thats so sad, why should SHE drop everything? HE should be dropping it all to follow HER! Or what would really make sense would be for the company to make it easier for both men AND women to have a life other than just work.

Keith Patton | Mar. 12, 2014
Since the article cites European souces, it may be that the EU is behind the curve on this kind of thing, but in the US, we have been involved for quite some time. As a geologist Ive been in the industry for over 34 years so that kind of marks me as a fossil. My graduating class was the first at my university to have a sizable female contingent in geosciences. I have worked with female engineers and geologists in both research, exploration and other capacities including environmental consulting where I actively mentored young female engineers. I would say that one could drop the engineer and substitute "females" as I do not think the experience for females across disciplines in the industry have been much different. Since the 1990s I think women have had a easier row to hoe, than men. I have worked for women half my age, simply because they were new graduates and were being given a "leg up" by overzealous managers in companies pushing diversity. Truth be told, university enrollment for women is on the rise while male enrollment is on the decline because of the toxic environment the US education system has become for young males beginning in middle school and on up. Despite this I personally helped originate and conduct an annual Geoscience Day, for middle school aged girls to expose them to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. We have since included boys in the program. In my experience, competent females nurtured and mentored along are still apt to drop everything, including their career to follow a husband whos career is taking him somewhere else. I saw this happen with two up and coming engineers whos husbands got overseas assignments with other companies. They left so fast the left a vapor trail. Equal pay is a given these days, since most companies have rigid pay structures. I just hired two female engineers, one from Trinidad, and one from China. I only hope they stay long enough to justify the time and training investment I am putting into them.


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