Energy sector reports 'disappointing' progress promoting women to senior roles

17th May 2019

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Andrew Swain

The UK's energy sector has only made marginal progress promoting women to boards over the last year, annual statistics published by the POWERful Women initiative have shown.

The data reveals that women still occupy just 16% of board seats at Britain's top 80 energy companies, up only slightly from the 13% recorded last year.

And there has been no progress for female representation on executive board seats, with the proportion still languishing at 6%, while 42% of companies have no women on their boards at all.

“The 2019 statistics show that progress is disappointingly slow, and has even gone backwards when we look at progress towards targets,“ POWERful Women chair, Ruth Cairnie, said.

“It is clear that we still have a very long way to go to truly tap into the pool of female talent available in the energy sector so that it is fit to meet the challenges and opportunities of the energy transformation.“

The Good Energy Group leads the way for female representation, with half of its board composed of women along with 100% of its executive seats. Half of the people on Shell's board are women too.

The John Wood Group, BP and National Grid complete the top five with 37%, 35% and 33% of their board seats occupied by women respectively.

Total, Victoria Oil and Gas, Sterling Energy, Union Jack Oil and Neptune Energy are among the companies to have no female representation on their boards at all.

This comes after a group of eight leading energy companies, which together employ 56,000 staff, last May committed to improve gender balance within their own firms and the sector as a whole.

The Energy Leaders' Coalition have now published their own research identifying barriers to better gender balance, case studies on diversity and inclusion, and improvement plans for the year ahead.

If we are to overcome the challenges of becoming a net zero country by 2045 and make the most of the opportunities, we also need to make the most of the talent available, said Keith Anderson, CEO at ScottishPower, which is a member of the coalition.

That means addressing the under representation of women at senior levels. We all know that a diverse workforce is the best way to drive success not just in our own business, but also for the sector as a whole.

Image credit: iStock


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