NES Survey: What Women Say About Working in the Oil, Gas Industry

When women in the industry were asked if they would recommend a career in the oil and gas industry to another woman, about 89 percent said they would, according to Carolyn Stewart, the regional business development manager-North America for NES Global Talent.

Stewart was speaking this week at the Upstart Spring Summit, and used data from a global survey conducted by NES. She addressed the topic of why women in the industry made the choice to enter the industry, how to get more women to consider a career in the oil and gas sector, and also why many of them leave it after a few years.

Some of the things that women liked about the industry were the opportunity to travel, the interesting work available, good career prospects and earning potential, the varied aspects of the work and meeting new people, Stewart said. However, while about 75 percent of the women had felt welcomed within the industry, 25 percent did not.

Stewart also noted that nearly one in five women within the industry plan to leave in two to five years. That is a troubling statistic, considering that the industry is already losing its most experienced people to retirement. Finding women is not enough; the industry must do more to retain them in order to maintain adequate staffing levels amid the Great Crew Change, she said.

Of those 25 percent who said they didn’t feel welcome in oil and gas, some mentioned a lack of opportunity, or what they felt was unequal pay between men and women, or even a feeling that they had to struggle against male counterparts for the same opportunities.

A lack of recognition was one of the main complaints mentioned by the women in the survey. When asked if women received the same recognition as men, a resounding 82 percent said no, and 18 percent said yes.

Apart from the issue of retention is the issue of attracting more women to the industry in the first place. Women continue to be under-represented within the industry, and the industry can do more to attract them to a career in energy, Stewart said. A significant effort is being made to get women to go into the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering and math), but the industry needs to do more to encourage women to specifically consider a career in oil and gas, rather than other STEM jobs, and to encourage them to stay there once they are on board, she said.


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