Do Many Women Work in Energy Management?
Even with an increased focus on clean energy and preserving the environment among today’s college students, the energy sector remains one of the least gender diverse occupations. Women make up only 25% of workers in energy-related companies and 32% of the renewable energy workforce. And they comprise only 13.9% of senior management positions within energy companies.
Despite evidence that diversity leads to higher revenues and profits for many types of companies, women are sorely underrepresented. But a study done by Bank of America Global Research found that S&P 500 companies with a higher percentage of women in senior management positions saw a 30% higher return on equity and a 30% lower earnings risk compared to companies without a lot of women in senior positions. Some large, multi-national energy corporations have done a better job in recruiting women for leadership positions. Many have policies to encourage diversity and inclusion, thanks to increased scrutiny from investors. But there is still much work to be done.
Here are some ways to increase the number of women working in energy management:
Promote the Sector and Occupations
With renewables often taking center stage, there’s more reason than ever to promote opportunities within the industry. The energy sector and its proponents have already begun to remake its image and build a broader applicant pool. The Advancing Gender in the Environment (AGENT) Thematic Energy Brief Series is a valuable resource that can be leveraged to the benefit of small and large organizations. Increased research and advocacy for recruitment and retention of women can begin in college and last throughout their careers. And a wider variety of jobs can be highlighted so women know the many options within the sector that might be available to them.
Provide Energy Internships and Job Shadowing
Starting at the high school level or even earlier, give girls the chance to job shadow someone in an energy-related occupation or perform an internship. While they get an idea of what a typical day might be like for one professional in a single energy-related job, the experience might spark interest in the broader industry.
Mentor, Give Presentations, and Offer Site Visits
When women who currently work in energy management take the time to encourage other women to join the profession, it serves the individual, the industry, and the country. Mentorships for new hires can guide women, answer their questions, and provide career advice from those who have worked in the industry for a longer time. Presentations can be made to local school children and companies could offer site tours for members of the public.
Join Professional Energy Sector Organizations
Professional organizations that advocate for gender equality can be a great resource for starting and advancing a career in energy management. Groups such as Women in Oil and Gas (WIOG), Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE), Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy WRISE, and Women in Clean Energy (WICE) give women the opportunity to meet industry leaders who can help them develop professional relationships and access career advice.
There is a looming skills gap as energy companies retool existing equipment and make the transition to cleaner energy. According to the Center for Energy Workforce Development, the shift to digital technologies and changing customer demands is driving the need for innovation, adaptability, and new skills in the workforce. Women can help usher in some new attitudes and approaches.
The 2021 Infrastructure and Jobs Act includes $62 billion for the U.S. Department of Energy that is projected to create 1,000 jobs. Women’s equal participation is a top priority for U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm. The jobs are there. The need for women is there. What are you waiting for? At National American University, we offer a Bachelor’s degree in Energy Management that will help prepare you for a rewarding career in the energy sector. Call 800-209-0182 to speak to a counselor today.