Study finds women account for almost 20 percent of energy technology, services sector
According to a new 24 study of the past three years conducted by the Energy Workforce & Technology Council national trade association, women now account for nearly 20 percent of the U.S. energy technology and services sector.
The study included surveys of more than 25 companies. The Council also assessed data related to labor force, progression, talent gaps, culture at work, and other workforce issues.
In 2018, women accounted for just 16 percent of the energy services sector’s workforce. In three years, they gained ground by three additional percentage points. This runs contrary to an alarming national trend of recent years that has seen more women dropping out of the national workforce — or at least not being counted. The growth in the energy sector comes even amidst the chaotic tendencies of 2020 when the world was hit by tumbling oil prices and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
However, this number still trails women’s 47 percent representation in the overall U.S. workforce.
Diversity also gained more traction in the sector in recent years, accounting for 25 percent of the workforce. According to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report, these minorities account for 36 percent of the U.S. workforce at large, though. In the last Council study in 2018, these ethnicities were not even considered in the report.
“This year’s study results are encouraging, especially considering the pandemic-related jobs losses that peaked at more than 100,000 in the energy services sector,” said Council CEO Leslie Beyer. “As women and minorities left at larger rates than the overall U.S. workforce, this brings greater pressure on oil and gas companies pursuing inclusion and diversity goals, and that is a challenge. Diversity will remain key to creating the new ideas that companies need to deliver a safe, affordable, and sustainable low-carbon future.”
All of this paints a picture of a changing industry, and the effects can be seen elsewhere, too. Notably, the report determined that 40 percent of companies now have C-level endorsed inclusion and diversity strategies, and 66 percent offer learning and development initiatives to drive diversity. Many businesses now offer paid primary caregiver parental leave, and 40 percent also offer formal mentorship programs.
More work remains. The report also recommended the energy sector actively pursue diverse and innovative talent to strengthen its future, focus on keeping women and ethnic minorities in the workforce, and provide additional mentorship and leadership role-modeling options to expand advancement opportunities.