Building talent for the top – a study of women on boards in oil & gas companies

The benefits to businesses of strong female representation at board and senior management levels are stacking up, with evidence of links to better profitability and financial performance, stronger governance, better stakeholder management, improved risk management and better access to talent.

There’s plenty of progress to be made across all sectors, but our survey shows that oil and gas has a long way to go. Here are some key highlights from our study of the 100 largest listed oil and gas companies in the world.

  • Women occupy only 11% of seats on the board of directors. The only sector with a poorer record is the mining industry.
  • Women hold a larger proportion of non-executive roles (13% are female) rather than executive roles (just 1%).
  • Only six oil and gas companies in our survey had a board that was 30% or more female. The UK also has a limited pipeline of women in senior management positions, with only 8% of seats on the management board held by women, of which 30% are in a corporate secretary or legal counsel role and are unlikely to lead to a position on the board of directors
  • Many countries have taken steps to promote the diversity agenda including mandatory quota requirements. The UK has adopted a voluntary business-led approach to increasing female representation at senior levels with a target of 25% of seats on the board of directors being occupied by women by 2015, in FTSE 100 companies.

We identified four career catalysts; career start, progression opportunities, senior management promotion and board level appointment  and then explored suggestions for each that could improve the attraction and retention rate of women in the industry, and as a result the leadership talent pool.  

To address this we suggest that the industry

  • Take steps to encourage more women to take an interest in technical subjects from school
  • Keep them  motivated  throughout their career
  • Think flexible providing work life balance.

Look after your leadership pipeline by providing support for women to pursue the right career paths and options towards senior management levels.