Women In Energy: We Can Do Better

It’s International Women’s Day, and while we’re celebrating all the amazing innovations pioneered by women in energy over on our social channels, we wanted to use this platform to get real with you all for a moment.

With 78% of US gas and oil industry professionals and 68% of the renewables workforce identifying as male, we know that the female presence in the energy and utilities market has been somewhat lacking over the years. While things are slowly improving, if we want to see meaningful change – we’ve got to take our International Women’s Day energy into the rest of the year and create longer term action.

If that wasn’t enough to get you thinking: fewer women in energy reach senior roles than in any other sector, which is a pretty damning as far as data goes. We can also see that, according to the patent database, there are substantially less women listed as ‘inventors’ on patent registrations in the energy sector – less than 11% in engines, pumps and power to be exact. However, on the bright side, what this means is there is so much room for improvement that surely the only way is up.

If celebrating women in energy is something that matters to you, then the most significant thing you can do this International Women’s Day is a pledge to create positive change in your organization from the inside.

How to create better gender equality in your business

Equal progression opportunities

When it comes to this point, most people think: “Of course! Anyone can get ahead in this company if they work hard enough.”, but the reason this falls short a lot of the time is that it doesn’t address a lot of nuances that most people won’t think about without scratching under the surface a little bit.

If you’ve never heard of “the broken rung” on the progression ladder, you might be surprised to learn that your leadership pipeline is likely to stay overwhelmingly male. Unfortunately, there’s a widespread issue in business where young, qualified women are overlooked for early management opportunities – meaning there are always going to be fewer female candidates for that prized senior promotion everyone has their eye on. The odds are currently stacked against them.

Women in corporate America are 24% less likely to receive managerial advice from senior leaders in their organization. To tackle the issue of a dwindling supply of female senior managers, you’ve got to look downwards at what can be done to energize your female junior workforce and encourage more of a female presence in early and middle management.

More women in the boardroom

Did you know that companies with more diverse boardrooms achieve 33% more financial returns? Not only that but more diverse boards have been proven to be more effective at risk management, be more innovative by nature and have better alignment with customers and employees. That’s why c-suites the world over are filling up with people from different backgrounds and experiences, so make sure you don’t miss out on those benefits.

Additionally, having more female representation higher up in your company will without a doubt do wonders for your employer brand. You’ll find that you naturally attract a better balance of candidates when you next hire. Don’t believe us? A recent Harvard Business  Review study showed that women were disengaged with potential hirers that failed to represent women in their business. Plus, who could be a better brand ambassador for you than your own leadership team?

Diverse hiring pools

Something you can implement easily and quickly is to ensure that from the very beginning, your hiring pools are as diverse as can be. After all, there’s no hope of hiring your next female Vice President if there are no women on your shortlist in the first place, right?

Whether you manage your recruitment internally or opt to go externally to energy recruiters – this is really important to get right. You don’t want to risk including people who aren’t right for the job just to tick boxes, but finding those all-star diverse candidates is definitely doable, it just might require a bit more work.

Did you know that many women don’t apply for jobs that they aren’t 100% qualified for? This is in comparison to men who will apply if they meet just 60% of the requirements, this is thought to be because of women being naturally more risk averse and underestimating the flexibility of most job specs. This means that your dream candidate might be passing up your roles for fear of rejection.

So if leading the change is important to you, it’s probably worth investing a little extra time into headhunting and casting that net a little wider, rather than adopt a reactive approach that many are accustomed to. If they won’t come to you, you’ve got to go to them.

The bottom line is that talented, experienced women who would be a credit to any energy company are definitely out there. As hirers and recruiters, it’s our job to go the extra mile to find them and show them what a great fit they would be. It’s time to stop blaming the scarcity of female leadership on a lack of female applicants, and it’s time to pull out all the stops to make not applying for your amazing opportunities seem unfathomable.

 

Diversity is really important to us as a recruitment partner, we’ve gotten pretty sharp at scouting the best minds in the energy market in an inclusive way. So if you’re looking to make big changes in your energy or power organization – we’re only a phone call away.

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Mia Weston

8th March

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