As technology advances to allow projects to be completed quicker, and the public becomes more aware of how their carbon footprint impacts the world, the demand for professionals working in the energy industry has drastically increased. However, with an already talent-stretched sector, sourcing the number of individuals needed to support growth efficiently seems unlikely. In order to change this, rapid action must be taken and a strategy must be in place to attract a diverse range of people. We have previously written about how targeting more female professionals can plug the skills shortage, however, what many organisations often fail to see is that it’s not about quotas or box-ticking exercises, but instead firms should focus on creating true parity, including renumeration equality and fair representation in the boardroom. By focussing on important issues like equal pay in the U.S, companies will stand a much better chance of attracting highly-skilled women to the energy sector.

Equal pay in the U.S

Over half a century has passed since the Equal Pay Act was created, however, females still face a substantial gender wage gap across the spectrum. According to data from the US Census Bureau, a woman working full time earns 80.7 cents for every dollar a man working full time earns. Additionally, women’s median annual earnings are $9,909 less than men’s. The average gender pay gap in the United States is around 19.3%, according the US Census Bureau.

How equal pay can be leveraged to attract women to the energy sector

It’s no secret that that until recently there were not many women employed in energy. However, this is slowly but surely changing. There are numerous ways to attract more women to the sector, such as increasing opportunities for flexible working, improving employee value propositions and creating more awareness about the variety of roles available in the sector. One of the most effective ways of boosting the number of females working in energy is to address the false reputation of it being a male-only industry which is not fit for women. This is easier said than done as this thought has unfortunately been engrained in many people’s minds for such a long time, however, it can be nipped in the bud early by educating school children. This, of course, is not an over-night task. But one thing that employers can take action on now is increasing the representation of women in the board room. This will not only help close the gender pay gap, but also show both genders that you are committed to equality, and that the antiquated view of the industry being male dominated is, in fact, wrong.

How women benefit the energy sector

In addition to plugging skills gaps, there’s no doubt that increasing the representation of women in the sector and championing equal pay is the right thing to do. There is a plethora of exciting opportunities in energy right now, with plenty of meaningful jobs which will impact the world, and it’s only fair that females also have access to these roles.

However, by now, I’m sure that many employers are aware that there is also a strong business case for hiring more women and having a better representation of females throughout all levels of the organisation. A Boston Consulting Group study found that companies with more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenues due to innovation. This, of course, is vital for energy firms, as innovation is what helps fuel projects that will tackle difficult issues like global warming. Also, with millennials expected to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025, it’s vital that employers take their expectations of a company into consideration too. According to the 2018 Deloitte Millennial Survey,  74% of these individuals believe their organisation is more innovative when it has a culture of inclusion, so this will likely be something that they will be seeking when looking for work.

Working towards creating equal pay in energy and closing the gender pay gap is just one of many ways of attracting women to the sector in the U.S. It’s also an effective and meaningful method to show that businesses are truly serious about changing the industry’s reputation. By taking action now and making this a reality, we can create a workforce which is ready for all future challenges.

If you’re interested in joining the Samuel Knight team and making a difference to create greater diversity, why not get in touch today?