Let’s face it: the Oil and Gas industry is a field that is typically dominated by males. Yes, women were given a late start in the workforce—particularly in the Oil and Gas industry — but, will it remain like this forever?
Based on recent statistics, women represent only a fraction of the Oil and Gas industry’s workforce, with an evident lack of female inclusiveness at board and senior management level. Drawing women into a field that has treacherous rigs and isolated project locations, is often met with discontent. In an effort to dilute the vivid stereotypes that paint a dull image of the industry, Companies will need to undergo significant operational changes.
The benefits of embracing greater diversity are disputably transparent. According to the Royal Academy of Engineering in the U.K., women make up 51 per cent of the U.K. population, while only 8 per cent hold engineering jobs. To add to this, Asset Integrity Engineering (AIE) conducted a study that found gender parity within organisations essential to achieving better performance, a more engaged workforce, and higher retention rates.
While career prospects for women in the Oil and Gas industry have improved in recent years, only a select few are taking advantage of such opportunities. Many females are interested in careers where women are inspiring others and making a worthwhile change. Flexible working conditions, child care provisions, and creating clear paths to senior jobs where there is no ‘glass ceiling’, are all key factors that will attract women to the industry. Promoting welcoming images of a work environment that has programmes that foster their career development and help them to balance work and family demands, are features that improve a Companies ability to capture female attention.
Though confidence is starting to return back to the industry, it’s understandable that sizeable challenges lie ahead. Workers who are new to the industry, along with former employees looking to return to back to their former Oil and Gas jobs, have been advised to be realistic with their expectations.
Andrew Hesketh, Country Manager for Spencer Ogden Dubai, agrees.
“Salaries across the industry have seen a significant dip, with most workers currently earning 30 per cent less than three years ago. And many workers are willing to accept these new salary structures," he says.
Despite the resurgence in new projects, the demand for skilled labour remains a trickle. When the demand for skilled labour does increase, recruiters will need to be prepared to source quality candidates that are inspired to rebuild the industry.
“While the sector will never return to its glory years, recruitment volume will certainly still be there. It’s important that people approach the industry differently, as salaries and the people required for these emerging projects are no longer the same, ” he says.
Rebuilding Public Perception Gap
It’s arguably clear that the Oil and Gas industry is facing one of the worst skills shortages in history. During such a challenging period, Companies will need to overcome a wide range of problems, and perhaps the most confronting test ahead is mending the public’s perception of the industry. The task of repairing the poor image that the Oil and Gas industry has in the eyes of many young professionals and skilled job seekers is going to be a tough, but not impossible.
Recently, a survey conducted by the University of Houston found that 71 per cent of existing Oil and Gas employees felt they are nervous about the industry’s future. Analysts suggest that this high anxiety stems from the lack of job security experienced by most current employees. To initiate greater confidence, Companies need to stop relying on the traditional toolkit that has weathered through previous oil slumps. There is now a real opportunity to aligning value with the Oil and Gas sector. In order to survive, employers will need to continuously improve their employee offering by redefining their value proposition to prospective staff. It can perhaps start by highlighting the vital part the Oil and Gas plays in today’s economy; emphasising the wide-ranging efforts the industry takes to be environmentally responsible; and, promoting the exciting global career opportunities it can offer to motivated, intellectual individuals. By doing this, Companies will be able to attract capable personnel who will help meet the complex global energy challenges that lie ahead.
Click here to read Finding Solutions: Oil and Gas Skills Gap (Part One)
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