Just as they have been slow to accept climate change, the men who control the oil and gas industry are failing to embrace the reality of their business’s upheaval.
Oil is being disrupted in many ways – except one. The recent CERAWeek, the world’s largest energy confab, held annually in Houston, Texas, showed that the US energy industry is still years behind where it should be in hiring women. Just as they have been slow to accept climate change, the men who control black gold are failing to embrace the reality of their business’s upheaval.
The energy sector scores abysmal marks when it comes to gender diversity. Only around one-fifth of oil and gas employees are women, according to the Boston Consulting Group, even though the US workforce broadly is almost half female. Women make up just 17 percent of executives, they are less represented in technical roles than office and support, Reuters reports. The industry’s maleness is second only to construction.
This is more than just tone deafness. When oil rigs had to brave the elements of the deep sea, workers needed brawn more than brain. But oil and gas jobs are moving into labs as the industry grapples with questions like how to reduce drilling costs and compete with cleaner sources of fuel. Technology has taken the forefront in discoveries.
That will necessitate employing more women – simply because that’s where such skills lie. According to the Canadian government, 92 percent of the country’s qualified mechanics aged 25 to 34 are men, but 57 percent of those with post-secondary qualifications in science and technology are women. The US workforce is behind, but catching up – 51 percent of operations-research analysts are women, according to National Center for Women & Information Technology.
As oil becomes a technology business, excessive machismo becomes a hindrance. The only ones to lose in that equation are companies who don’t get that message.