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The oil and gas gender gap

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

A new report has been launched by NES Global Talent highlighting the key issues and challenges women face in the global oil and gas industry and flagging possible solutions to tackle the gender gap. The report highlights numerous pathways women are taking to find careers in oil and gas, pointing out the opportunities the sector has to cross train from ancillary industries as well as non-traditional disciplines. 44% of the survey respondents stated that they had worked in different industries such as building and construction and even law and retail, before moving into oil and gas.

The report also points out that in order to attract and retain female workers, the industry needs to improve its ability to provide membership, recognise workers equally and highlight the benefits of studying the STEM subjects in schools and universities.


Neil Tregarthen, CEO, NES Global Talent said, ‘the encouraging news is that the vast majority of female employees feel welcome in the sector and say they would recommend a career in oil and gas engineering to others. However, 45% say they do not get the same recognition as men. There may be issues of perception and reality here, but undoubtedly the topic needs to be better managed if the sector is to become more attractive to women. Many respondents said they are paid less, have fewer opportunities than their male counterparts and have to work harder than men to prove themselves and again there are clear improvements to be made, if the oil and gas sector is to attract large numbers of female engineers in the future.’

Averil Macdonald, Professor of Science Engagement, University of Reading said, ‘oil and gas sector companies should focus on engaging with young women both at school and at university, providing role models and an opportunity to see for themselves what the sector has to offer through visits and paid internships. This will ensure that oil and gas companies lead the way amongst engineering employers in benefiting from the untapped talent of those female engineers whose skills will, otherwise, be recognised and rewarded elsewhere.’


  • 75% of women fell welcome working in the oil and gas industry yet almost half believe they do not get the same recognition as their male colleagues.
  • 95% believe mentors are important for career advancement in the oil and gas industry yet 42% said they were neither a mentor nor a mentee.
  • 82% of respondents plan to stay in the oil and gas industry for the next 2 – 5 years.
  • 39% of respondents would consider taking less money in return for more work flexibility, with many citing better work life balance and spending more time with the family as the main reasons.

Adapted from press release by Claira Lloyd

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