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Why the oil and gas industry needs to tap into the resource of women in downstream?

Potential talent shortages are always a reality in the oil and gas industry. Despite the many benefits of working in this sector, from the pay through to the opportunity to travel and the career progression, finding the right people can still be a challenge. The most recent intelligence indicates that this issue could be easily corrected by a shift in the gender balance when it comes to recruitment. It may be that tapping into the resource of women downstream could give the oil and gas industry a much needed boost.

Why does the oil and gas industry need to refocus?

The answer is simple: an existing lack of talent. The sector has been well aware of its talent challenges for some time. There are many different factors involved in this, from an aging workforce facing multiple retirements through to the 1980s downturn and cuts that have been made to training programmes. The result is that the sector is not as well staffed as it should be – and the answer may lie in a gender rebalancing.

Women in oil and gas

A recent report by the World Petroleum Council and The Boston Consulting Group identified the potential for correcting the poor gender balance in oil and gas as an untapped reserve. It established that women account for just a fifth of employees in the oil and gas industry, which is significantly smaller than in any other sector. Where women do have jobs in the sector these are often limited to office roles, as opposed to management or more technical positions.

How could more women in oil and gas improve the outlook for the sector?

There are a number of key reasons identified in the World Petroleum Council and The Boston Consulting Group research as to how the oil and gas sector could benefit from greater female recruitment.

More diversity would improve the reputation of the industry

More women in key roles, in technical roles and – more specifically – in management roles would make it a more attractive career choice and disrupt the vicious circle that currently makes it difficult to bring more diversity into the oil and gas sector. Recruiting more women would considerably broaden the pool of talent to choose from for different roles. Where there are more women, there are more highly qualified and capable candidates for businesses to select from.

More diverse workplaces enjoy many advantages

From a broader range of perspectives, through to better quality teamwork and more creative problem solving, studies have shown that teams with more diversity often create a more effective and productive environment for innovation and progress. More women in the workforce will boost numbers and productivity. In particular, it could help to resolve the productivity challenges that many businesses will face as current employees begin to retire.

There are multiple obstacles for businesses in the oil and gas sector today and perhaps one of the most crucial is a shortage of exceptional talent. With more of a focus on a better gender balance, the industry could avoid all the problems that could potentially bring.

How are Euro Petroleum Consultants encouraging women in downstream?

As an organisation, we are passionate about women in downstream and benefiting from their skills and knowledge. We have recently launched our own initiative on this key area, the “Women in Downstream Expert Panel”.  The purpose of this panel is to promote female industry experts from across all regions, sharing their knowledge through article writing and interviews, collating their input into our event agendas, increase female speakers and participants at all our industry events as well as hosting stand-alone networking events to inspire the generations of the future.

We are excited about the line-up of women joining this Expert Panel and will be announcing more details soon.