What is Diversity and Inclusion in Oil and Gas Industry

what is diversity and inclusion in oil and gas

The idea and conversations around diversity and inclusivity has been around for a while. The objectives of improving or promoting diversity and inclusivity in the oil and gas are very noble. The benefits are also becoming increasingly clear. At this point, you might be wondering; what is diversity and inclusion in oil and gas industry?

Oil and gas companies today rely on teams that are diverse, and which combine capabilities of both men and women.

You will also notice that most members of teams are from different cultural heritage. Younger and older people are working together more today than probably any other time in history.

There is a great deal of research material out there. If you study that research, you will realize that diversity and inclusion directly enhances performances in organizations.

In the oil and gas industry, diversity and inclusion is a business strategy worth pursuing. As a business leader, you should consider implementing diversity and inclusivity in your organization.

Oil and gas companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers.

Let us start by understanding what diversity and inclusion really means.

What is diversity and inclusion in Oil and Gas

In the oil and gas industry, diversity and inclusion in your organization are the strategies and practices aimed at supporting a diverse workplace. This leverages the effects of diversity to achieve a competitive advantage.

You efforts to create a diverse and inclusive work environment will create a more adaptable, creative and attractive firm. You will be able to attract quality and top talent.

Given the current layoffs that are being implemented by various companies across the value chain, the battle for talent will be intense going forward.

What is Inclusion in Oil and Gas Sector?

Now that you understand what diversity means, let us try and understand what inclusion means as well.

Inclusion or inclusivity in oil and gas means creating a workplace that is collaborative, supportive and respectful. This is aimed at increasing the participation and contribution of all employees.

This is something that upstream oil and gas awards celebrate. I have hosted these awards annually which are now being hosted virtually.

In fact, inclusion in oil and gas removes all barriers, discrimination and intolerance. If you apply this well in your office, you will help your colleagues and employees feel included and supported.

Diversity & Inclusion in Oil and Gas Today

As we have witnessed over the last couple of months, oil and gas industry is going through a moment of great transition.

You will notice that there are fluctuating oil prices, geopolitical instability and a global economy that is creating uncertainty across the industry. At the same time, there is the issue of climate change and energy transition.

Furthermore, oil and gas industry is starting to experience the impacts of an ageing workforce, widening skills gap and talent shortage due to digitization.

All of these call for sober, strategic and focused leadership. And we have seen this taking shape.

Oil and gas companies across the entire value chain are changing. If you look around, you will notice that business leaders are refocusing their attentions and budgets.

There is a shift towards how to meet human capital requirements for digital skills such as advanced analytics, machine learning and robotics in the oil and gas industry.

The oil and gas industry has reputably been considered one of the least diverse industries.

However, as companies refine their business models to focus on value-driving initiatives, they are waking up to the fact that all the above can be achieved through building a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Diversity and inclusion in oil and gas can be made into a corporate priority. This would help oil and gas companies to drive innovation and growth.

Also, with a diverse workplace, companies will be able to capitalize on key opportunities that will boost their competitiveness as well as their bottom-line.

How to Implement Diversity and Inclusion in Oil and Gas

  • Making diversity and inclusion a boardroom priority
  • Succession planning with D&I at the forefront
  • How to implement an effective peer-to-peer mentoring program
  • Leadership development – how can oil and gas companies drive change?
  • Unconscious bias and the impact on diversity and inclusion
  • Identifying, recruiting and maintaining a diverse talent pipeline
  • How the energy sector can effectively collaborate to remove gender and race bias
  • Women on boards: addressing the board level gender-gap across the oil and gas industry
  • Pay parity across the oil and gas sector
  • The future of oil and gas and the impact of Gen Z

How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in Energy Sector

  • Use the “Inclusive Workplace Model”
  • Evaluate your executive team – Do they portray diversity and inclusion?
  • Acknowledge and honor multiple religious and cultural practices.
  • Foster a company culture where every voice is welcome, heard, and respected. …
  • Open a dialogue about gender pay inequality.

How do you demonstrate diversity and inclusion?

  • Be aware of unconscious bias. Building awareness is a first step towards real change.
  • Communicate the importance of managing bias.
  • Offer diversity and inclusion training.
  • Acknowledge holidays of all cultures.
  • Make it easy for your people to participate in employee resource groups.
  • Mix up your teams

What are the benefits of diversity and inclusion?

Diversity and inclusion in the workplace cause all employees to feel accepted and valued. When employees feel accepted and valued, they are also happier in their workplace and stay longer with a company. As a result, companies with greater diversity in the workplace have lower turnover rates

Benefits of Diversity & Inclusion in Oil and Gas

Aside from being a clear social, political, ethical and moral responsibility, there are some serious benefits associated with diversity in the workplace.

  1. Generating Higher Revenues

Ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to yield higher revenue, while gender diverse companies are 15% more likely to yield higher revenue.

  1. Better Earnings for Your Company

In the US, companies that increase racial and ethnic diversity on senior boards enjoy a 0.8% increase in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), while their counterparts in the UK see a 3.5% increase.

  1. Increased Innovation.

A recent BCG study found a strong, statistically significant positive relationship between diversity and corporate innovation. The study’s author explained her findings in a TED Talk, which is a must see for anyone interested in the topic.

  1. Positive Impact on Workforce Retention

Glassdoor found that 57% of employees and 67% of job seekers consider diversity an important element of their workplace, which affects recruitment and retention.

  1. New Market Audience

Diverse companies are 70% more likely to capture a new market audience.

  1. Happier and Satisfied Employees

When employees perceive their organization as committed to diversity and inclusion, and they actually feel included, employees are 80% more likely to rank their employer as high performing.

  1. Higher Sales and More Customers

A study published in the American Sociological Review found that companies with the highest percent in racial or gender diversity have higher sales revenue, more customers, higher than average market share and profitability.

How can diversity be inclusive?

It is very important to ensure that your diversity agenda is inclusive in your organization. This means finding ways to ensure that your employees support the D&I strategies. This is how you can achieve this;

  • Know the diversity goals and vision of your organization and its connection to the overall business objectives.
  • Participate in employee engagement surveys and respond as openly and honestly as possible.
  • Actively engage in the diversity effort.

Related: 9 Strategies for Creating an Inclusive Oil and Gas Workplace

Promoting Gender Diversity in Oil and Gas Industry

Research shows that women are highly under-represented in the oil and gas industry.

The U.S. Department of Labor defines a male-dominated sector as one where women constitute less than one-fourth of the total workforce.

In the oil and gas industry, women remain under-represented across most levels, and especially at the senior management.

According to Catalyst, women constituted only 7.9 percent of board positions in the top 500 mining companies in 2016; of those among the top 100 companies, 94 percent of women represented were in non-executive positions.

In Australia, women made up only 13.3 percent of the oil, gas and mining workforces in 2009 but by 2015, the number had increased slightly to 14.3. per cent.

In 2015, women comprised 19.4 percent of the Canadian mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction labor force.

Despite these rates, there is great potential to draw upon the increasing numbers of women with the requisite qualifications as more women are graduating with engineering and other technical degrees.

For example, women earned only 2 percent of undergraduate engineering degrees conferred in the United States in 1995.

Today, women hold around 18 percent of these degrees.

As the sector becomes more mechanized and less reliant on heavy manual labor, traditional arguments for a male-dominated sector that relied on stereotypical reasoning are becoming even more obsolete.

Benefits of Gender Inclusion and Diversity in Workplace

The business case for greater gender diversity in the oil and gas industry is compelling.

A growing body of research shows that greater female inclusion provides a larger pool to meet the high demand for laborers, higher retention of key talent, increased profitability, better performance, improved safety records, higher standards of government behavior, and benefits to women and the broader community.

  1. Larger Talent Pool for Recruitment

Companies that limit or focus their hiring on men restrict themselves to a smaller talent pool than those companies that seek to ensure gender neutrality or promote greater diversity in hiring decisions and processes.

Actively recruiting and retaining women can help meet the demand for what is a limited supply of workers.

In recent years, the oil industry eliminated more than 400,000 jobs globally. Many of these laborers have since moved on to other jobs, and it is harder for companies to find replacements.

After the shale industry laid off approximately 60 percent of its labor force needed to frack wells, it took one firm several months to completely fill its fracking crews.

  1. Greater Profitability

Equal opportunity and treatment for women boosts the global economy.

According to the McKinsey Global Institute, if all countries were to close their gender gaps so that they at least match the  fastest improving country in their region, worldwide GDP would increase by U.S. $12 trillion by 2025.

Research shows that female inclusion also boosts company profits. In its 2015 report, Diversity Matters, McKinsey found that companies ranking in the top 25 percent for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have “financial returns” higher than the national industry medians.

  1. Better Able to Meet Public and Investor Demand

Research indicates that greater female representation at the board level also produces better standards of governance. These are behavior that investors, consumers, and clients are beginning to seek.

When boards have greater gender diversity and inclusion, they demonstrate greater accountability, increased and improved governance, and improved collaboration.

Increased gender diversity on boards also promotes compliance with national and international conventions and regulations, as well as strengthens corporate accountability before the public.

  1. Improved Performance

Research shows that companies with more women employees and gender-diverse teams have better teamwork, communication, and greater creativity in solving business and technical problems than homogeneous work forces.

For example, studies show that while men tend to prefer working with other men, women are more likely to use teamwork and cooperative approaches that draw on the skills and resources of a broader network.

Well-managed, broadly diverse teams tend to outperform homogeneous teams, including on metrics such as fostering greater innovation.

And in locations where socio-economic opportunities are limited for women, female workers show strong respect for their jobs.

  1. Better Safety Records

Companies with more women demonstrate better safety records than companies with few or no women.

Numerous studies show that female employees are more likely to follow safety protocols, treat equipment responsibly, and operate safely.  As a result, women-operated equipment requires less maintenance and repair.

For example, it was described how women tend to be more careful drivers than men and take turns more slowly.

As a result, during a tire shortage, employers realized it was financially better to employ women drivers, because they would not wear out tires as quickly as men.


In conclusion, diversity and inclusion in the oil and gas industry has been on the business agenda for a number of decades now. However, oil and gas industry does not have a great track record in the area of promoting diversity or inclusion.

Being proactive about is a very important piece of your success matrix in the oil and gas sector.

Like we have seen, this is true of cultural, racial and disability diversity. A point to note is gender diversity in particular.

Women in oil and gas should be supported and promoted.

According to research, there are fewer women in oil and gas jobs than almost any other major industry, accounting for less than one quarter of employees in the sector worldwide – and these figures grow smaller the higher up the business ladder you go.

With the oil, gas and energy sector currently undergoing a period of change and disruption, now seems an opportune moment to examine the industry’s bias and take steps to encourage a more gender diverse workforce.

You will be giving yourself a great deal of competitive business advantage if you can implement a few of the strategies that I have outlined above.

The potential for long term success is great for you if you build or create environments that are helpful to your employees.

You should ensure that the entire workforce is diverse and inclusive.