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NES Global Talent publishes report on gender gap in oil & gas sector

The new survey reveals that:

• 75% of women feel welcome working in the oil and gas industry yet almost half (45%) believe they do not get the same recognition as their male colleagues.

• 95% believe mentors are important for career advancement in the oil and gas industry yet 42% said they were neither a mentor nor a mentee.

• Over four fifths (82%) of respondents plan to stay in the oil and gas industry for the next 2 - 5 years.

The report & lsquo;Attracting and retaining women in oil and gas engineering – a survey examining the gender talent gap’, highlights the myriad of pathways women are taking to find careers in oil and gas, underscoring the opportunities the sector has to cross-train from ancillary industries as well as non-traditional disciplines. In fact, 44% of respondents stated that they had worked in different industries such as building and construction and even law and retail, before moving into oil and gas.

The report also shows that in order to attract and retain female workers, the industry needs to improve its ability to provide mentorship, recognise workers equally and highlight the benefits of studying STEM subjects in schools and universities. 

Neil Tregarthen, CEO at NES Global Talent, said, “The encouraging news is that the vast majority of female employees feel welcome in the sector and say they would recommend a career in oil and gas engineering to others. However, 45% say they do not get the same recognition as men. There may be issues of perception and reality here, but undoubtedly the topic needs to be better managed, if the sector is to become more attractive to women. Many respondents said they are paid less, have fewer opportunities than their male counterparts and have to work harder than men to prove themselves and again there are clear improvements to be made, if the oil and gas sector is to attract larger numbers of female engineers in the future."

Some 95% of respondents to the survey see mentors as important for career advancement, but 42% are not involved in any form of mentoring. In line with many other sectors and roles, the implementation of formal mentoring programmes would be an important step in supporting the most talented women engineers to progress to senior positions in the oil and gas industry and in doing so, become the role models of tomorrow.

Commenting on the report, Averil Macdonald, professor of science engagement at the University of Reading, states that creative recruitment techniques executed with women in mind will also help with attraction. “Oil and gas sector companies should focus on engaging with young women both at school and at university, providing role models and an opportunity to see for themselves what the sector has to offer through visits and paid internships.  This will ensure that oil and gas companies lead the way amongst engineering employers in benefiting from the untapped talent of those female engineers whose skills will, otherwise, be recognised and rewarded elsewhere,” she said.

The survey also found that 39% of respondents would consider taking less money in return for more work flexibility, with many citing a better work life balance and spending more time with the family as the main reasons.

NES Global Talent is committed to supporting women in the oil and gas engineering sector and working with its clients to help drive up the numbers of women working in the industry. 

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