BP-led survey reveals problems still remain
AN INCREASING number of women are taking advantage of improved career prospects in the oil and gas industry, according to a survey from BP and industry news website Rigzone.
The survey quizzed 3,000 professionals from the oil and gas industry on how they believe gender has affected them and their colleagues. Over 60% of the respondents – nine out of ten of which were male – said the amount of women working in the industry has noticeably increased over the past five years, and expect that it will continue to grow in the future. More than half of them said it was important to attract more women to the industry- something echoed by both BP and Rigzone.
We’ll never have the best industry if we can’t attract the best talent regardless of gender. 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 – Rigzone president Paul Caplan
The survey also uncovered evidence of the barriers that are yet to be overcome, with nearly three-quarters of respondents saying oil and gas remains “a male-dominated industry.” Nearly half said that gender plays a role in how much employees are paid.
Meanwhile, one in five said they strongly agreed that gender-based discrimination occurs within the industry. According to BP, they 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. The company says it is looking to counter this by supporting science, technology, engineering and maths programmes in schools and offering more flexible working patterns.
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. While the industry acknowledges it still has work to do in terms of a gender-balanced pool of talent, the results of this survey demonstrate that industry initiatives and programmes to engage women about careers in oil and gas are making an impact and we need to keep focussed for them to continue to do so. – Kirsty Bashforth, BP’s head of organisational effectiveness.
By Richard Jansen