Masculine Image Still Deters Women from Joining Energy Sector

Findings from the latest oil and gas Global Workforce Survey, published jointly by and Air Energi, reveal that efforts to encourage more women into the industry are not yet working. The results also highlight widespread confusion among the workforce as to whether or not internal initiatives are effective.
More than 4,300 employees and hiring managers working in the oil and gas industry took part in the survey that looked at the issues surrounding the lack of women taking on key roles in the sector.
Employees and hiring managers in every region around the world still perceive it as being male-dominated with survey responses highlighting that this masculine perception of the industry is a problem. 48 percent of employees and 53 percent of hiring managers reported that a culture created by a male dominated environment was a contributing factor to the gender imbalance. managing director, Mark Guest, said: "Given the chronic skills gap in oil and gas, the last 12-18 months has seen many companies waking up to the fact that there is a distinct lack of women joining the industry. Encouraging girls to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects at school is something that may impact the industry, but only in the future. There are many women around the world who already have related business, science or engineering degrees and still don’t consider oil and gas as a career option. This really needs to be addressed for the long-term good of the industry."
That view is backed up by 47 percent of employees and 40 percent of hiring managers that took part in the survey still reporting that the gender gap is an issue, however responses showed there is a real appetite to change this with 63 percent of employees and 71 percent of hiring managers agreeing that addressing the situation would give the industry access to a wider talent pool.
Air Energi CEO, Duncan Gregson, said: "Our findings show the masculine image and perception of the industry pervades in every region and this is a crucial barrier in the minds of many women. By addressing this, along with improving the scope and measurement of internal company initiatives, it is possible that we will start see a shift in the number of women coming into oil and gas at all levels of seniority. In short, someone in every company needs to be accountable for these initiatives and have the authority to adapt them if they need to."
Many companies have chosen to address the gender gap through recruitment quotas, however, not even half (44 percent) of hiring managers that knew their company had an active policy to encourage more women into oil and gas roles could say for sure whether or not this policy was effective.
Mr. Guest continued: "Where cultural practices allow, organisations cannot half-heartedly seek to recruit more women on the one hand while at the same time complain of a chronic skills shortage on the other. The industry has to take an all-encompassing view of the situation in order to ever successfully address it."
The survey also looked into overall hiring activity and salary expectations around the world. 46 percent of hiring managers thought recruitment levels for permanent staff will remain steady and 48 percent thought recruitment of contract personnel would remain the same throughout the second part of 2014 compared to the first six months. The findings reflect a more cautious industry overall with fewer hiring managers (38 percent) expecting salary rates to continue to increase compared to 58 percent in the workforce survey conducted in the first half of 2014.
These findings come as part of the second and Air Energi global workforce survey of 2014. Views have been collated from industry professionals across Europe, Africa, Middle East, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Australasia.
The report also includes insight from organisations including Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) and Women’s Global Leadership Conference (WGLC).


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