Why Energy is Pivotal in Workplace Equity

    Black man and Black woman in business attire workplace equality

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    America has work to do in terms of workplace equality

    Statistics on workplace equality in America are grim. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), most sources say women earn 82 cents per every dollar men do, but when total earnings for all women who have worked at least one year in the past 15 are tabulated, it actually drops down to just 49 cents on the dollar. At the current growth rate, their estimates show equal pay won’t be reached until 2059, or 2119 for Black women and 2224 for Hispanic women.

    Pay isn’t the only issue with workplace equality, though. Less than 6% of Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs, women are more likely to face sexual harassment, and 75% face retaliation when they report it.

    The energy sector needs a makeover too

    The energy sector struggles without women in leadership roles as well, but the disparity in workplace equality is even greater. Just 17% of those in senior and executive leadership roles and 1% of CEOs are women. Of course, it’s a male-dominated sector on the whole, with only 15% of positions filled by women, despite the fact that women make up almost half the American workforce. The energy sector also has the second-highest pay gap, narrowly missing last place by less than a penny.

    The oil and gas sectors will play a pivotal role in American workplace equality going forward

    Most of this isn’t news to anyone in the energy sector, but it does signal something uncanny: oil and gas can literally change the trajectory of workplace equality for the whole country.

    Oil and gas execs see more value in diversity than other execs do

    A while back, Forbes magazine polled CEOs and execs responsible for diversity in their organizations and asked them if they saw how creating diverse teams connected with business-driving activities. A whopping 41% couldn’t make the connection. To be clear, there’s a wealth of data that links diversity to profit and a whole host of positive business outcomes, but literally 2-in-5 CEOs missed this memo. Yet, research specific to oil and gas shows that 61% believe it impacts financial performance and 77% say it impacts non-financial performance. In other words, one of the worst industries for workplace equality has one of the best mindsets to correct it.

    Companies are embracing the shift

    The same oil and gas study shows that 98% of survey respondents say this is a huge time of change for the industry, and they’re excited about it. The overwhelming majority (94%) say they think diversity of thought and experience are paramount to navigating the changing times.

    Job growth is exploding

    Research from API shows that the oil and natural gas and petrochemical industries are expected to have 1.3 million job opportunities by 2025. By 2035, 1.9 million positions will be active. About one-third of these will be in management and professional fields, offering entry points for those with college degrees, particularly in STEM fields.

    Pay in energy is near twice the national average

    Data gathered by API shows that oil and gas boast salaries greater than $100,000 annually, which is nearly $50,000 greater than the national average. As women and minorities take new roles within the sector, as 16% and 36% are respectively expected to if current trends remain the same, wages for women will climb on a national level.

    If energy can create workplace equality, every industry can

    Obviously, the steps oil and gas companies take now to shore up their D&I programs and genuinely create cultures of inclusion will be paramount going forward. However, the stage is set. There’s excitement, an understanding of the benefits, and much anticipated growth. As oil and gas embrace workplace equality, the sector is not only improving conditions on a national scale, but will show the rest of the country how it’s done.

    Be part of the shift

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    Feature image credit: Photo by Rebrand Cities from Pexels.