NOCs, IOCs, NECs and IECs
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the energy sector is not moving at the required pace, a recent BCG report has found, noting that from 2021 to 2023, the average percentage of women working in the oil and gas sector has only increased by one per cent, to 23% total.
The report, titled “Untapped Reserves 3.0 – Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Energy Sector”, noted that: “Although there have been some signs of incremental progress, such as a moderate increase in women in senior management, many challenges still persist, and impactful DEI interventions, like flexible work and mentorship, are inconsistently implemented, applied, and utilised.” The report is part of a collaboration between BCG and WPC Energy, who have been jointly monitoring women’s representation in the oil and gas industry for the last seven years.
Operations and technical roles are where female representation lags the furthest, with entry-level representation at 18%. The report authors warn that this gap constrains the talent pipeline for women in senior leadership, which is relatively stable through senior levels but falls sharply to 5% for executives.
“To achieve higher women’s representation in these roles, oil and gas companies need to invest in attracting more women to operations and technical roles to expand the talent pipeline. They also should invest in retaining and advancing women, maintaining representation through to the executive level,” the report suggests.
The report suggested several company policy interventions that can improve female representation at the senior level. These include flexible working policies that support remote or hybrid work, childcare support and job sharing; unbiased promotion opportunities where candidate shortlists and leadership review committees are gender balanced; commitment from the organisation to advancing DEI, which can be achieved through the appointment of a chief diversity officer or linking leadership compensation to achievement of diversity goals; and DEI targeted recruitment, focused on attracting and hiring women candidates.
Companies that are diverse, equitable, and inclusive enjoy many benefits over companies that lack in this domain. Companies with a strong focus on DEI tend to be more innovative and creative and benefit from enhanced employee engagement and retention. The BCG report also notes that DEI can better enable energy companies to solve complex challenges, such as energy security and the energy transition.
The report is based on a survey of 68 companies in oil and gas, power and utilities, and new energies.