Although the energy sector has already begun making waves in diversity and inclusion (D&I), there is still a way to go. FDM Group, whose mission is to bring people and technology together, has offered businesses within the industry five strategies to help them close the gender pay gap in energy.
As investments pour into renewable energy projects and technologies, a surge in employment is being witnessed across various sectors – from manufacturing and construction to research and development.
But according to the OEUK Diversity & Inclusion Survey Report, the energy sector as a whole is in agreement that more needs to be done to attract a more diverse talent base, in order to unlock the full potential of the skills available within society.
Women currently make up approximately 39 per cent of the global workforce, yet they account for just 16 per cent of the traditional energy sector, which has long been a male-dominated field.
However, with the pressing transformative nature of the industry, there is a heightened urgency for the energy sector to harness the power of inclusivity to reach its full potential, therefore, necessitating the issue of the gender gap in energy to be addressed.
Sheila Flavell, CBE, Chief Operating Officer at FDM Group said: “To close the gender pay gap, businesses must invest in targeted training and mentorship for women, ensure fair compensation and champion a culture of diversity at every level. This isn’t just a moral obligation – it’s a business necessity. When we ensure equitable pay, we enhance innovation and productivity, driving both societal progress and business success.”
Here are FDM Group’s five strategies for closing the gender gap in energy:
Diversity and inclusion policies
Developing and implementing robust diversity and inclusion policies within your organisation is a fundamental step in closing the gender gap in the energy sector. These policies should outline clear objectives, metrics for measuring progress, and a commitment to providing equal opportunities for all employees – regardless of gender.
Organisations should also establish mechanisms for reporting and addressing discrimination or harassment, to ensure a safe and inclusive workplace for everyone. By making diversity and inclusion a core part of the organisational culture, companies can create an environment where women are encouraged to thrive professionally.
Mentorship and sponsorship programmes
Mentorship and sponsorship programmes play a pivotal role in supporting women’s career advancement in the energy sector. These programmes pair experienced professionals with early-career individuals, showing them the ropes and providing invaluable support. Mentors provide guidance and advice, while sponsors actively advocate for career advancement opportunities on behalf of their protégés.
By participating in such programmes, women can build valuable networks, develop essential skills, and gain access to leadership roles, helping to bridge the gender gap in senior positions. Better yet, when these mentors are women themselves, young women in energy can learn from a role model they relate to and aspire to be like.
Equal pay and advancement opportunities
Achieving pay equity and providing equal advancement opportunities is critical for closing the gender gap in the energy sector. Organisations should conduct regular pay equity audits to identify and rectify any gender-based pay disparities, ensuring that women are compensated fairly for their contributions. Transparent promotion and advancement criteria should also be established, and training and development opportunities should be provided to help women progress in their careers.
By eliminating gender-based pay gaps and promoting women into leadership roles, companies can create a more equitable workplace, which will help attract and retain more women in the energy and renewables industry.
Flexible or family-friendly work arrangements and benefits
For the energy sector to attract and retain female employees effectively, understanding and tailoring benefits to address their unique needs and enhance job satisfaction is paramount. Female employees encounter distinct challenges, including maternity leave and typically managing more family responsibilities. Therefore, offering family-friendly benefits such as dedicated breastfeeding rooms, comprehensive maternity leave policies, flexible working hours, remote work options, and assistance with childcare expenses is essential. These benefits not only reflect an inclusive workplace but also alleviate the hurdles faced by women in the energy sector, enhancing their overall job experience.
Educational and outreach initiatives
Collaborating with educational institutions and organisations is key to encouraging more women to pursue careers in the energy sector. Companies can engage in outreach initiatives, such as mentorship programmes, career fairs, and educational partnerships, to raise awareness about the opportunities available in the sector. Additionally, fostering a supportive environment that encourages women to pursue STEM fields and energy-related disciplines is vital for future talent pipeline diversity. These educational and outreach efforts can help break down barriers and inspire more women to join and excel in the energy industry.