Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and lower oil prices in 2020, the percentage of women in the U.S. energy technology and services sector has risen to nearly 20% over the past three years, countering a recent trend of women dropping out of the overall national workforce, according to the latest study by The Energy Workforce & Technology Council (the Council).
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Women Have Made Progress in the Energy Services Sector Since 2018 (Graphic: Business Wire)
In its second edition, the study, published in collaboration with Accenture, draws on insights on approximately 250,000 workers, including more than 63,000 in the United States. This year’s report, which reflects jobs figures through January 2021, uses a revised methodology, which also considers race and ethnicity dimensions along with gender.
The study found that the percentage of women in the sector rose to 19%, almost reaching the Council’s 20% goal set in 2018 and up from 16% that year. However, this figure trails women’s 47% representation in the overall U.S. workforce.
Certain ethnicities, which were not part of the 2018 study, comprised 25% of the sector, compared with 36% for all areas of the U.S. workforce, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
“This year’s study results are encouraging, especially considering the pandemic-related jobs losses that peaked at more than 100,000 in the energy services sector,” said Leslie Beyer, the Council’s CEO. “As women and minorities left at larger rates from the overall U.S. workforce, this brings greater pressure on oil and gas companies that are pursuing inclusion and diversity goals, and that is a challenge. Diversity will remain key to creating the new ideas that companies need to deliver a safe, affordable and sustainable low-carbon future.”
The report highlighted areas where companies in the energy technology and services sector globally can increase participation in equality and leadership advancement for women and minorities, including:
- 40% of companies have C-level endorsed inclusion and diversity strategies
- 56% offer paid primary caregiver parental leave
- 66% offer learning and development initiatives targeted at inclusion and diversity
- 32% offer basic flexible work programs, such as telecommuting
- 40% offer formal mentorship programs
“Retention and advancement programs can grow with increased endorsement from C-suite leaders, whose visibility is key to boosting workforce diversity,” said Ben Carey, a managing director who leads Accenture’s energy equipment and services practice. “For example, leaders should collaborate more closely with employee resource groups where more women and minority leaders can share how they navigated their careers so that others can better follow their examples. This will be vital for all roles, but especially the digital technology and service functions that will help drive the industry’s recovery.”
The report makes three additional recommendations to enhance the resilience of the future energy workforce:
- Attract diverse, innovative talent, strengthen employee value propositions and identify new sources of talent to shape the future of the industry.
- Focus on retention – keeping women and ethnic minorities in the workplace.
- Amplify advancement opportunities – mentorship and leadership role-modelling.
Energy Workforce & Technology Council surveyed 25 companies, covering approximately 250,000 working men and women globally — including more than 63,000 employees in the United States. Companies with less than 1,000 global employees were specifically included, in addition to the largest sector participants, to gain insight into practices prevalent throughout the sector. The Council also analyzed published data related to a range of workforce issues, including labor force, progression, talent gaps, culture at work, company statistics by level and company best practices.