The Petroleum Equipment & Services Association (PESA) recently released a report covering female representation in the industry.  According to PESA, today “in the U.S., women comprise 16% of the service, manufacturing, and supply sector of the oil and gas industry workforce.”  While women have historically struggle to keep pace with men in terms of hiring within the country, that national average for female representation sits at 47%.

A key issue the study highlights is the lack of growth for women in the industry.  “When looking at 2017 in-flow of female talents into the sector, of total U.S. entry-level sector hires, 15% are women as compared to 18% of women experienced hires.”  The lack of new hires among women essentially guarantees little to no growth for women in the immediate future.  Unfortunately no answer can be given currently to improve these numbers as most responding companies do not track why women leave / do not look for employment in the industry.

For those that do, the 3 most common reasons include “Limited career opportunities, a lack of flexible work programs, and lack of effective sponsorship and mentoring.”  While some companies are currently looking to improve their offerings for women, obviously a big push is needed.  To date within the industry the following exists to help keep women engaged in the industry:

  • 20% have C-level endorsed gender diversity strategies
  • 34% offer six or more weeks of paid primary caregiver parental leave
  • 31% offer learning and development initiatives targeted at inclusion and diversity
  • 60% offer basic flexible work programs, such as telecommuting
  • 15% offer mentorship programs and actively track female participation

Improvements are needed from top to bottom, with, according to World Oil, “retention and advancement programming with C-suite endorsement and visibility have the potential to make substantial impacts to individual women’s experiences as well as on overall gender diversity in the industry.”  Time will tell if this is true, but for now much is needed.

The PESA study specifically took a look at the oil and gas industry’s “supply, and manufacturing organizations to analyze the current state, in-flow, and out-flow of female talent and identified actions organizations can take to advance women into greater leadership positions.

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