Executive Viewpoint: Decarbonization efforts can attract a more diverse workforce in the energy industry
While companies worldwide make commitments to achieving Net Zero, research carried out by NES Fircroft shows that this pledge to limit rising temperatures and combat the world’s climate challenge can also positively affect recruitment efforts, especially among women in the workforce.
NES Fircroft recently released its annual Women in Energy Global Study that collected data from just over 2,500 energy professionals on key topics that include working within Covid’s confines, as well as the energy transition. According to the survey, 64% of women were very passionate about the climate change agenda and achieving Net Zero, as compared to 51% of men. Nearly 65% of women said they were considering leaving their current roles, citing that they were interested in working in areas with new challenges.
Today’s climate initiatives are providing women with the perfect opportunity to make a strategic career move while simultaneously working toward solving one of the world’s greatest challenges. So how can companies boost the size of the female pipeline and attract diverse applicants?
Prominently communicate your environmental commitment in job advertisements. While many companies might communicate their ESG (environmental, social, governance) commitments and plans of action in press releases, on their website, and through internal emails, it would greatly benefit recruitment efforts to discuss these pledges in job advertisements. The survey revealed that women are noticeably more driven by the journey to Net Zero. A section talking about the company’s contribution to the climate change agenda could significantly improve the number of female applications to available roles.
Culture is key. When browsing an organization’s career page, applicants not only are looking at the role’s requirements, but they are looking at the company as a whole. What’s the culture like? Will I be challenged? Is the organization looking to the future, rather than living in the past? Perhaps, more than ever, companies in the energy industry are relying on new technology and digitalization, as they strategize to decarbonize, and this is appealing to female applicants. Whilst the job might initially attract a candidate, the organization and what it stands for will ultimately help them decide whether they want to apply.
According to the survey, 38% of female respondents are most excited about efforts being taken by companies in the climate change agenda, followed by 23%, who responded that they are most excited about the opportunity to work with new technologies. With technology and innovation going hand-in-hand with a Net Zero pledge, organizations can expect to attract a talent pool that is driven by an unprecedented challenge, which is just getting started.
Keep it flexible! It’s no secret that the global pandemic significantly impacted companies’ ways of working. Developments in workplace practices mean that many more flexible options, such as remote and hybrid working, have been permanently initiated. When survey respondents were quizzed on flexible working, 52% of women thought Covid 19 had significantly advanced flexible working in their current roles. The majority saw this as a positive change. Maintaining this flexible approach, where possible, will attract female talent and has already proven to be successful, even in the toughest of times.
Clean can provide more green. Interestingly, many oil and gas workers, who responded to the survey, stated they did not wish to make the move into the realm of clean energy, as they perceived salaries to be lower. However, NES Fircroft’s research shows that this is not necessarily the case. Of those respondents who have transitioned, over 75% said their salary was, in fact, higher or about the same.
More competitive salaries in renewable energy can be attributed to a boost in public opinion and political support. The U.S. renewable energy market is growing rapidly, with the U.S. already operating the world’s second-biggest wind power market, while solar energy drives the agenda with ambitious efforts like the Gemini Solar Project. This, coupled with the fact that big corporations and a slew of the “oil majors,” now including all Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI) members, have announced their ambition to achieve net zero operations within the timeframe set by the Paris Agreement.
While money isn’t everything, higher salaries can help employees feel more invested in their jobs while also feeling valued and appreciated by their organization. These factors, combined with the fact that many respondents stated they wanted to work for a company that was on the journey to Net Zero, makes for a powerful attraction strategy.
Conclusion. Companies considering their Net Zero position can now make a link between the energy transition and gender diversity, as women are clearly highly motivated by the climate change agenda and prioritize it more than their male colleagues.
When asked if respondents believe companies focus on achieving Net Zero to attract more talent, the response was overwhelmingly positive, with 61% of women agreeing and 55% of men in alignment. The responses from both groups strongly suggest that working to achieve climate initiatives can greatly improve and elevate a company’s brand image.
The energy sector is in the middle of an exciting period of growth and innovation. Companies must now focus on their strongest asset: people, ensuring the Net Zero workforce is built of unique mindsets, diverse perspectives and inclusive leaders.
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