The Problem of Aging in the Oil and Gas Industry
The oil and gas industry struggles to come to grips with engaging, hiring, retaining and promoting women. Experts have pointed this out as a problem since the industry is in dire need of new talent due to its aging workforce.
According to the research article published by McKinsey & Company, the industry is in dire need of new skills such as robotics, machine learning and advanced analytics. A decade ago, the oil and gas sector was among the most lucrative industries with high salaries. The industry was the 14th most attractive employer among IT students and now it ranks 35th. The reason for the shift in the attractiveness of the industry can be attributed to various factors, including changes in the global energy landscape, increasing concerns for environmental issues and shifts in societal values. CNN Business reported that especially younger generations view the industry's careers as unstable, blue-collar, difficult, dangerous and harmful to society.
Quartz reported that companies relying on clean energy use are deemed more attractive by young talent. In other words, companies that prioritize issues like social responsibility and climate change appeal more to the younger generations as these players align well with their values. However, Mexico’s idea of economic development is rooted in the utilization of fossil fuel, as President López Obrador sees oil as the driver of progress.
To gain new talent, the industry needs to deepen its employee pool. It can do so by recruiting more women: when compared with other industries, the oil and gas industry ranks last in hiring women.
According to the paper published in The Extractive Industries and Society in 2021, the oil and gas industry has a deeply rooted hyper-masculine culture, which is primarily due to the nature of the work, marked by long, precarious working hours, risks and dangers, historically considered to be unsuitable for women.
Furthermore, the women who are present within the industry are faced with various constraints like sexual harassment and exclusion, also when it comes to promotions.
Lissy Giacomán, CEO & Co-Founder, Vinco, told Mexico Business in 2022, that “women in Mexico occupy just 7.5 percent of all Board of Director seats at the largest companies, way below the average of 20 percent among OECD countries. However, there has been a growing conversation about women in the workforce. It is a big step and one that will reap rewards.”