The long-term outlook for our industry is strong. With the support of positive government action — such as expanding access to resources, allowing infrastructure projects to move forward, and approving export applications — we could even see accelerated growth in the years ahead.
But in order for America’s energy industry to reach its full potential, we must build a strong workforce that includes women in every role. Energy companies could add as many as 1.3 million new jobs by 2030, and it’s critical that women around the country — especially young women entering the workforce — recognize the career opportunities in oil and natural gas.
Putting Out the Welcome Mat
Bringing more women into the energy industry isn’t just the right thing to do. It also makes good business sense to draw talent from the largest pool possible. As Jack Gerard, energy industry leader and president and CEO of the American Petroleum Institute, puts it, “This nation will not be able to fulfill its potential as a global energy leader without more hands on deck, particularly minority and female workers.”
All of us — women and men alike — can make this case, especially when we meet young women who have just graduated from high school or college, or women who are considering career changes or returning to the workforce.
According to recent research, the following points are especially meaningful to women considering careers in the energy industry:
• Average industry pay is nearly $50,000 more annually than other industries. Though important, high salary is just one factor. Energy industry jobs also generally provide good healthcare benefits, flexibility, and a welcome work-life balance.
• Women are already part of the energy workforce. Nearly 300,000 women are already advancing their careers in the energy sector. It’s especially important to young women to know that the trail has been blazed by other women.
• The industry includes a wide range of blue- and white-collar jobs. The energy industry has dozens of specialties and provides jobs with a range of education requirements. There are positions for women at drill sites, in refineries, at labs and in offices.
One of the biggest factors keeping women out of the energy sector is lack of awareness. Our fundamental message to women should be that the energy industry is open for business and hiring.
The Role of Women in Energy Advocacy
Women also make powerful advocates for our industry. Our industry needs as many voices as possible — in every community as well as in the halls of government — talking about the importance of American energy. Women can bring their perspectives to the discussion — not only as energy professionals, but as heads of household, consumers, mothers and daughters.
Both women and men can become part of our industry’s growing advocacy by participating in Energy Nation. In addition to keeping the energy workforce informed about critical public policy issues, Energy Nation provides career information from which women can learn about great opportunities in our industry.
To learn more about Energy Nation and its mission, visit www.energynation.org.