Gender Diversity in the Oilfield

Written by:

Katie Mehnert

In 2018, Pink Petro partner, the Petroleum Equipment Services Association published a sector study on gender diversity. 36 PESA companies participated, covering approximately 250,000 working men and women. 

The study establishes:

  • A baseline of where the industry sector is today; as well as
  • An understanding of how our sector compares to others.

The energy industry has historically struggled to attract and retain women.

Within the United States, women make up 47% of the overall workforce. But as you can see from the results of our study, women make up only:

  • 15% within the broader energy sector overall, and
  • 16% of the service, manufacturing, and supply sector of the energy industry.
  • Our study found that 64% of women in the service and supply sector work in support functions, while the remaining 36% work in technical operations roles.
  • Only 8% of US-based technical operational roles within the sector are actually filled by women. These are roles such as manufacturing, engineering or service delivery. Comparatively, the percentage of women in US-based business support roles, such as HR or Legal, is significantly higher at 31%.
  • Across both Support Function Leadership and Technical Leadership, the percentage of women decreases as the level of seniority increases.
  • Of top leaders, less than 10% of those in technical functions are women.
  • Historically a discrepancy has existed between the number of women entering the sector and the overall percentage of women in the workforce over time.
  • Looking at 2017 specifically, women were below 20% of the recruitment candidates across both entry and experienced hires.
  • To be competitive at attracting the top talent to our industry, we need to find more ways to make it appealing– regardless of gender.
  • Only about 50% of PESA sector companies are actively tracking the reasons why women leave. Of those tracked – some common themes have emerged across industries.

Common themes of why women leave the industry

  • The Need for Flexible Work Programs: They do not have access to enablers like 9/80 schedules or telecommuting.
  • Better Career Prospects: Women believe their current company isn’t a place where they could be successful so they leave for other work.
  • Increased Advocacy and Sponsorship –Many women feel as if they do not have someone who is “in their corner” and helping push for them at review time to support their case for promotion or advancement.

Download the full study here.

Related Posts