Looking Up: How the oil industry is showing promising signs for women

You’d be correct in assuming that the oil industry is a male dominated field, but promising figures now show that women are starting to build prosperous careers within the trade. Only 11% of people on the board of directors in oil companies are female and another small percentage work offshore. However, these women have an average age lower than that of their male counterparts, which indicates that they were attracted to these positions in recent years. This shows a piqued interest for women wanting to work in the oil industry. Let’s take a look at where women stand in the oil industry.

Working in the oil industry

The oil and gas industry is worth £35bn annually to the UK alone and the number of new employees within the sector was over 20,000 between 2008 and 2012. As oil prices remain high and production declines, it is becoming extremely important to employ the right people who can help sustain the industry. An Ernst & Young report in 2014 said: “Attracting new talent to join the industry is vital for the future of the industry, with many schemes already in place to target skilled personnel from outside the sector, as well as encouraging school leavers and graduates to join the sector.” Careers can range from engineering to commercial management to executive director positions: all attractive roles with exciting potential for progress.

More women wanted

A recent study by PWC marked suggestions to create more interest in the oil industry for women. These were:

Take steps to encourage more women to take an interest in technical subjects from school.

Think flexible providing work life balance.

Keep them motivated throughout their career.

Sally Martin, Shell’s Vice President for Downstream Health, addressed the situation in 2013 and said: “Girls outperform boys across the board at school, but only 12% of engineering and technology undergraduates are women, and an even smaller number take up jobs in the sector once they leave university.” But women shouldn’t lose heart, some companies are making a change.

The next steps

Measures are being taken by companies to make sure women are part of such a vital, global industry. Agrekko specialises in temporary power project and is a highly reputable power generation services company that has been praised for the number of females it has appointed on its board. The company now has a 30% representation of women and has earned a place as a FTSE ‘most improved’ business.

woman smiling

There is evidently a long way to go before gender equality exists in the oil industry but there are positive signs of women filling the void. It’s a tremendously exciting and stimulating area of work to be in and any female looking to utilise her knowledge and skills should seriously look into the myriad career options concerned with oil.

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