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Stats for female workers offshore ‘not good enough’ says OGUK

Just 3% of the UK's offshore workforce are female. Image credit: Shell
Just 3% of the UK's offshore workforce are female. Image credit: Shell

Are you talking about diversity and inclusion? What does diversity and inclusion mean and why do we need to talk about it?

These are some of the big questions delegates attending Oil and Gas UK’s first business breakfast of the year discussed earlier this month.

The business case was neatly put by Craig Shanaghey of Wood, our D&I task group chair: Access the talent, unlock the potential.

An inclusive workplace is what allows us to attract diverse talent which in turn enables everyone to bring their full selves to work.

As an industry with a deep focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), we have long felt the impact of a deep-rooted gender imbalance which too often begins at a young age, is embedded at school and is locked in by the time our young people make career-defining

In 2020, women still represent only 3% of the offshore workforce. It’s not good enough and we continue to work with governments and other industries to remove at every opportunity the barriers that exist in the STEM pipeline.

We’ve been taking industry-specific steps to do this, and Shell’s Girls in Energy programme is only one example of the responsibility our sector is demonstrating in its efforts to attract a more diverse workforce.

Diversity is more than gender. It’s about understanding that everyone is unique and that these individual differences are strengths whether along the dimensions of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, physical abilities, age and more.

Equally important is our ability to retain diverse people in our workplaces through policies, procedures and a culture that promotes inclusivity.

The business case is proven and will be reinforced as we step up to face the energy transition, which will need diverse and innovative thinking and ideas to support our industry in finding solutions to complex problems.

Deirdre Michie, CEO of Oil and Gas UK

Ensuring that this sector is a great place to work for everyone is key to the delivery of Roadmap 2035 and all that it entails in terms of ensuring a safe, sustainable and competitive oil and gas industry, supporting the UK’s energy needs and its transition to a net zero future.

Respecting, nurturing and including different thinking, from people of all backgrounds will help harness new ideas, new technology and sharper ways of working if we are to deliver what is a challenging ask of us all.

This is the year OGUK puts diversity and inclusion front and centre so businesses can develop their understanding of what’s required, so that we can share good practice and talk about diversity and inclusion openly, passionately and with an eye on meaningful results.

Our D&I breakfast in February attracted more than 350 attendees and we used it as a platform to launch a dedicated website.

In March, we’ll begin an industry-wide survey to better understand the collective issues we face, and in April we’ll reveal the results at our first D&I conference.

Throughout the year, our task group will drive action and our wider network will act as a catalyst for company-wide improvements.

With continued partnership working with industry groups, governments, schools and more, we can be confident that we are collectively stepping up to tackle the big questions – one of which is indeed diversity and inclusion.

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