Wireline Issue 45 - Summer 2019

Achieving diversity There are a number of different interventions a company can adopt to improve diversity and inclusivity at their organisation. In a paper published in the journal Work Occupation in 2014, titled ‘ Corporate diversity programmes and gender inequality in the oil and gas industry’, the authors interviewed female geoscientists to explore the effectiveness of different corporate strategies that exist to address the issue. Their findings also give insight into not just company attitudes to diversity, but also how recipients of diversity intervention programmes feel about them. Hiring programmes In some organisations, specific goals are set for the hiring and promoting of professionals from minority backgrounds, and an individual or committee is given the responsibility to oversee the achievement of these goals. This kind of strategy has proven most effective in increasing the number of women in management but is generally met with some resistance – both from those not targeted by the programme and those who stand to benefit.

Grayson alludes to this in her own experience: “In 2013, when I worked for Centrica, our SVP Collette Cohen set up the first Women’s Network. At first, I thought: 'Gosh, do I really want to get involved?' Then I thought, if I could have had the help and advice from myself at this age starting out in my career it would have been easier.” This hesitation and resistance is understandable. People can be reluctant to join anything that might set them apart from their colleagues and this specific intervention can open avenues for other people to question a person’s right to be at a company, degradingly referred to as a ‘diversity hire’. It is therefore important that people understand how diversity is also an issue of inequality, and that in order to work towards a level playing field, many systemically disadvantaged minorities need to be given a ‘leg up’, and offered space and support that they’re denied in society. The paper’s authors report: “By holding an entity accountable for the achievement of diversity goals on-the-ground, this policy aims to subvert both organisational inertia and wilful resistance from frontline supervisors.”

Image left: Spirit Energy EVP technical & operated production Neil McCulloch speaking at the AXIS Network's Men as Change Agents event.

Image right: Spirit staff at the Grampian Pride Parade, May 2019.

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