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WOMEN IN ENERGY

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Energy remains a male-dominated industry, 85% of our respondents across sectors were men. Our survey confirms that women are better represented in the energy management, utilities and renewables sectors than all respondents.

Significantly fewer are in engineering or scientific/technical roles (23% and 4% compared to 42% and 6%) but they are more highly represented in environmental, legal, analyst, academia/training/HR, communications and general business/commercial roles. Fewer than 25% of women respondents are in senior or middle management jobs compared to more than 28% of all respondents.

In more traditional positions such as mechanical and electrical engineering women remain few and far between. Unless more women can be persuaded to enter the industry the lack of skilled energy engineers and technicians could affect the competitiveness of economies in years to come.

In the results, 6% of female respondents work in renewables compared to 4% of men, and 6% of women describe their work as environment related (4% for men). Just 23% of women describe their role as engineering compared with 45% of men.

  Request your copy of the 2014 Hays Energy Salary Guide
An earlier survey by the EI of women working in the oil and gas, power generation/supply and energy efficiency sectors discovered that the respondents’ employers had an average ‘energy’-related female staff proportion of just 20%.

This survey of 380 female EI members found that many women felt they were still perceived as a novelty in the industry or they considered themselves a ‘token woman’ to demonstrate how an employer was addressing the gender issue. Yet the skill level of women working in energy is high with 50% of women having a Master’s Degree (36% of men) and high numbers attending Energy Institute workshops. Women are also achieving Chartered professional status with the Energy Institute at a younger age than their male counterparts. However, the percentage of women seeking Chartered status overall is much lower than men.

There is further positive news from Engineering UK, which promotes careers in engineering, which reveals more women from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are now taking degrees in energy engineering.

“The speed of change in the number of women working in the energy industry has not happened as fast as we would have liked,” says Sarah Beacock of the Energy Institute. “One problem is a lack of knowledge about the jobs available. The industry must be even more visible and explain to women and girls at school why energy is a good career option and demonstrate a clear career path.”

For women, career development was the most important consideration after salary for 42%. The opportunities are not always there because 43% of females say the need for more variety in their work was the main reason they became consultants.

The oil and gas industry has seen an 19% increase in the number of women in offshore roles such as maintenance, health and safety, environment, medical and catering since 2006, according to the UKCS Offshore Workforce Demographic Report 2013 by trade association Oil & Gas UK. Although in 2012 female employees represented only 4% (2,138) of the offshore working population, an increase of just 0.1% on the previous year.

  Request your copy of the 2014 Hays Energy Salary Guide
More females aged between 24 and 29 are now working offshore which shows that the battle to get more girls to consider the discipline is slowly being won in schools. However, from the age of 30 there is still a decline in female numbers travelling offshore.
 

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