Encouraging gender diversity in the energy & utilities sector: A European overview

Written on 24 Apr 2017

Attracting skilled staff in what is a highly competitive environment and then retaining those staff when they are so sought after by competitors and by other industries is a well-worn issue within the Energy and Utilities sector.

The sector itself faces a diminishing talent pool, an ageing workforce whilst at the same time there is an increasing demand for infrastructure investment. In the UK alone, some 221,000 new employees will be needed in the sector in the next 10 years; and with 20% of the sector’s workforce due to retire within 10 years, employers will be faced with the loss of valuable experience and potentially a limited pipeline to transfer skills onto.

One area in which there is general consensus is that the skills gap will not be met unless pro-active steps are taken to encourage more women into the industry. The figures currently are pretty poor – the UK has a particularly low percentage of female engineers – around 8%; the position in Europe is a little better, at around 20% and in the US, the figure is estimated to be 14%. The figures in respect of women doing STEM subjects does not make particularly encouraging reading.

Many commentaries refer to the need for good women role models in the sector, the need for the industry to change its corporate image to the public, the need to better explain what a career in the E&U sector involves – to girls (and parents of girls) and the need to emphasize the social impact and focus on fixing problems but there is rarely any discussion about how the law operates and whether there are legitimate steps that employers can take on recruitment to encourage more women to apply and secure roles in the sector.

Our guide sets out key actions for employers to consider and you can also see what’s permissible and what’s not when recruiting. Our infographic highlights key issues that employers face in tackling the gender divide.