Workforce diversity and inclusivity are currently major discussion points for industry. For the sector to prosper and remain competitive, a lot needs to change.
D iversity in oil and gas – within the workforce and across ideas – is necessary if the industry is to thrive. Vast changes are anticipated as the industry adapts in line with the energy transition and advances in technology. As a result, the existing skills gap will only grow, unless companies make the changes needed to make oil and gas an attractive destination for professionals and graduates alike. Diversity is only possible if companies work to create an environment and culture that is inclusive. In practice, this means companies allow for all manner of personal expression from their employees without anyone fearing that bringing their whole selves to the workplace will hinder, target or ostracise them. “Inclusion [to me] means making the industry open to everyone no matter who you are; what you identify with culturally, religiously; what your ethnicity is; what your gender is,” explains Spirit Energy director for resourcing, talent, D&I and L&D, Susan Grayson. Wireline met with Grayson to discuss diversity and inclusion in the industry and the work Spirit Energy is doing to embody these ideas. “If we are truly inclusive, we will have diversity of thought; we’ll make better decisions as teams, we’ll be innovative as an industry and we’ll move on. If we have non-diverse and non-inclusive teams the industry will not keep up with other industries and we’ll lose talent.” “If we are truly inclusive, we will have diversity of thought, we’ll make better decisions as teams, we’ll be innovative as an industry."
Encouraging diversity Across the industry, diversity is appearing more frequently in company manifestos and as a talking point at events and conferences. Many organisations are striving to make the changes necessary to encourage greater inclusiveness. For many, however, not enough is being done – evidenced in recent comments made by Energy Institute president Steve Holliday, who remarked that: “The oil and gas industry is appalling. Absolutely awful. It’s pretty much the worst sector for diversity in terms of gender and ethnicity.” Energy Voice reports that, overall, figures for the number of graduates and women joining the industry are declining and, more generally speaking, the industry performs badly when it comes to ethnic and LGBT diversity. The University of Aberdeen also reported that the oil downturn has had a negative impact on the number of women entering oil- and gas-based higher education. These numbers only highlight the choice that many young people are making in light of the downturn and the energy transition. There are fundamental shifts that need to be made in individual perspectives and by companies as a whole; attitudes towards diversity and inclusion need to change. Some companies have already taken steps toward addressing their lack of diversity and creating a more inclusive work environment by looking at hiring practices and introducing support and development programmes for existing employees.
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