The evolving diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda of the energy sector
Sarah Louise Howell, Vice President, Gastech
This week, Gastech and Energy Connects hosted a webinar bringing together senior executives and leaders from Pavilion Energy, ExxonMobil, Peking University, International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP) and Lean In Network Energy to discuss trends shaping the energy sectors’ diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda.
At the heart of the discussion was the impact of the pandemic and its impact on the sector’s working culture. Panellists discussed how companies should adapt policies to create more flexible working conditions, particularly for demographics that are most affected by illness or disability. However, the panel also noted the issues that come with remote working. Imam Hill, Executive Director of IOGP, highlighted research that showed how “remote working arrangements can pose a Zoom ceiling”, impeding the professional development of employees. Hill suggested that companies should therefore invest in a company culture that makes flexible working accessible to all.
Another major point of discussion was the sector’s response to the ‘Great Resignation’. Alan Heng, President of Pavilion Energy spoke of the need to “make the energy industry more attractive to younger people” in addition to the importance of “putting employees at the forefront”, particularly in the context of the pandemic. Building workplaces that are truly responsive to employees’ needs, he argued, will be a key factor in the sector’s ability to attract and retain talent during the global energy transition.
Finally, the panel identified the biggest obstacles to a truly diverse, equitable, and inclusive global energy sector, pointing to the importance of adapting company attitudes and culture, while emphasising the problems posed by “unconscious biases” embedded within company hierarchies. The face of the sector has changed dramatically in the space of just a few decades, yet all panellists acknowledged the scope for further improvements and cautioned against complacency.
The webinar showed that while there are plenty of questions about how the diversity, equity, and inclusion agenda will evolve in response to the pandemic, the energy industry is thinking seriously about how to balance the need for corporate productivity and workplace flexibility.
These DEI questions will be a major component of this year’s Gastech conference in Milan, 5-8 September. Bringing together policymakers and energy leaders from around the world, Gastech’s DEI in Energy conference will drive forward discussion on the transformations in workplace cultures to date and set out a roadmap for addressing further DEI challenges.
To find out more about the conference, visit our website at: Agenda - Gastech Exhibition & Conference (gastechevent.com)
#Gastech, Fiera Milano, Italy 5-8 September 2022