Campaign launched to address ‘depressing’ lack of gender diversity in energy industry

A paper compiled by professional services company PwC and industry body POWERful Women (PfW) has called for the energy industry to address the issue of gender diversity.

The report Igniting Change in Energy is a call to arms for the energy sector – looking at ways to redress the gender imbalance at senior leadership level. It reveals that women currently hold only 5% of executive boardroom roles. Additionally, 61% of boards have no female representation whatsoever.

PwC and PfW have set the target of 30% female representation in executive board positions by 2030. This mirrors the 30% Club target of 3 in 10 women holding board positions within the FTSE100 by 2015.

The much longer timeframe reflects the large amount of work necessary to achieve this goal in the male-dominated energy industry. In addition to the executive board targets, the report also calls for 40% of middle-management positions to be occupied by female leaders in 2030.

Ways this can be achieved include increased buy-in from CEOs when pushing the diversity agenda and challenging bias, according to the report. It also calls on HR teams to review recruitment and development programmes to support women looking to enter the energy sector and progress within the industry.

Minister for women and equalities Jo Swinson is backing the campaign. She called the report and subsequent campaign “a step in the right direction”.

“We need to ensure that girls are aware of the opportunities of careers available in the energy sector, and that they are not facing unnecessary barriers in moving up the ranks,” she said.

“It is vital that the diversity of skills and experience of women in business is understood and valued, and I look forward to the industry meeting – and succeeding – its targets.”

Laura Manson-Smith, PwC energy partner and co-author of the report, warned that the current gender diversity figures in the energy industry make “depressing reading”.

“While it is certainly too simplistic to say it must be a 50/50 split across all sectors, it is abundantly clear that equality doesn’t look like the landscape we’re in now. It’s time to ignite change if we are to secure a bright future for the UK energy industry in what is an increasingly competitive global marketplace,” she added.

Further reading on diversity: 1 in 5 women believe reaching senior management ‘impossible’

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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