‘Energy industry 30 years away from gender balance’

Dyala PhotoThe advancement of women in the oil and gas sector is a critical topic that needs to be discussed, according to Dyala Sabbagh. (Image source: Gulf Intelligence)It will take more than 30 years to have a balanced representation of men and women in the global energy industry, according to a recent survey

The survey, conducted by Gulf Intelligence, questioned 150 women executives and stakeholders in the energy industry working in the Gulf countries. More than half the women surveyed were of the view that under the current policies, it will be at least another 30 years before the global energy industry will achieve gender balance, while only eight per cent of the respondents said it could be achieved in as little as 10 years.

The issue is of significance, considering that women make up less than a tenth of the global oil and gas industry workforce, especially in countries that are rich in hydrocarbons. According to Hays Oil and Gas Global Salary Guide, only 7.8 per cent of the global oil and gas workforce comprised women in 2012.

Dyala Sabbagh, a partner with Gulf Intelligence, a Dubai-based strategic communications consultancy, said, “The advancement of females in the oil and gas sector is a critical topic that needs to be discussed in order to achieve a sustainable industry, especially at a time when 50 per cent of petroleum engineers are expected to retire in the next decade with the baby boomer generation. Technology will play a vital role in accelerating a gender balance in the industry.”

Application of new technologies has been and will continue to be a trigger for greater diversification within the oil and gas industry. Technology has enabled the development of a new breed of engineers, with backgrounds in information technology, computer sciences, and analytics.

As the industry continues to evolve on the basis of the above factors, it will be vital to ensure that it has access to a larger pool of skilled talent to support these changes. Including more women in the workforce as a matter of policy will help deal with the looming personnel problem in the energy industry.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
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