An expert has said that the UK oil and gas industry should take advantage of the economic downturn in order to figure out how to correct the gender imbalance that can currently be seen in the industry. Moving forward, it has been recommended that oil and gas companies should think about improving the gender imbalance as part of their future business strategies.
Kate Williams, an offshore employment law expert has explained that oil and gas companies should consider implementing flexible working arrangements and more family friendly policies. If the industry decided to introduce these policies, it has been suggested that more women are likely to be attracted to the industry.
They also highlighted that making the oil and gas industry more family friendly, there will be need more online techniques involved such as using Oil and Gas directories where they can manage their procurement platform from their confort of home meaning more time spending with their families.
A recent survey by the industry body, Oil and Gas UK explained that the amount of women employed in the oil and gas industry is far less than the national average. On average women make up around forty seven per cent of a workforce in the UK. Unfortunately, in the oil and gas industry women only make up twenty three per cent of the workforce, which is far below the national average.
The twenty three per cent figure substantially drops when we turn to the offshore sector. In fact, only three point six per cent of women make up the offshore workforce.
There are huge benefits that can be seen when businesses choose to include more women in a workforce. These include: improved financial results, better productivity, a bigger talent pool and increased market responsiveness.
Williams understands that many may think she is strange for encouraging companies to retain and attract women into the business. This is because currently the oil and gas market is seeing huge job losses and spending cuts because of the drop in the price of oil.
She explains that many businesses in the oil and gas industry are realigning their focus in order to survive the current oil and gas crisis. Many companies are looking for ways to increase their performance and Kate believes that gender diversity is one strategy that should be considered.
Those employers that do not currently offer flexible working patterns should overhaul their current system in order to reap the business benefits that will come with employing more women.
Kate Williams continues to explain that in an economic downturn many industries implement a cut cut cut strategy which is not always effective. When the economy starts to improve, many industries start to recruit again. Kate wants to change the way industries work in these situations and the oil and gas sector is no exception.
Despite the uncertainty and challenges ahead, the oil and gas market could become a much more sustainable industry, if they increased the amount of women in their workforce.