Will adding women to the sector save the oil & gas industry?

With reports surfacing that the oil and gas sector may soon be hurting for staff, new initiatives to increase the number of female workers are going forward.

It’s no surprise that an industry like oil and gas production has long been dominated by male workers, whether they be freelancers, umbrella company contractors, or permanent employees. It’s one of those sectors that seem to attract men over women, but with the new fears of the sector finding itself not having enough new workers to compensate for aging ones – and with new research pointing to diversity as the key to successful businesses – there seems to be a new push to recruit an increased number of women to swell the ranks of the sector.

Of course the trick here would be to make the oil and gas industry a more attractive career choice for women. This doesn’t mean anything as sexist as painting a few bulkheads on an offshore oil platform a delicate shade of pink, of course – but it does mean making the sector more welcoming to women in general. Research has shown that the women that do work in oil and gas are concerned that they’re not given enough recognition for their hard work when in comparison to their male colleagues, and that they would also prefer higher levels of mentorship as well to help guide their careers from a long-term point of view. Honestly I can’t blame them for avoiding the oil and gas sector if they’re not getting what they need – for what it’s worth, it shouldn’t matter what gender you are; if you’re a good worker you should be recognised and offered opportunity for advancement.

This is unfortunately easier said than done, and if you ask me that’s a terrible shame. With the oil and gas sector playing such a large role in the British economy  – and its energy independence as well – it should be the centrepiece of any economic recovery and redevelopment programme. If that means supporting its existing female employees to a more egalitarian level, which will not so incidentally also increase the number of new female oil and gas workers coming into the sector as well – it seems to me that it’s a true no-brainer to invest time, energy and resources into such a project.

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