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The Energy Industry Needs a Wake-Up Call When It Comes to Equal Pay

Topics: Data & Research
energy industry
Image Credit: Pexels

Energy consumption has evolved significantly since the early 19th century, when we used whale oil to power our lights and burned coal to keep warm. But, while the industry has made huge strides from its pioneer days, one aspect feels like it’s stuck in an entirely different century, and no one seems to be talking about it:

The Energy Industry Has a Huge Gender Pay Gap Problem.

Research from PayScale’s report, Inside the Gender Pay Gap, shows that no matter how you cut it, women earn less than men in the energy industry. Even when you account for compensable factors like experience, education, and job level, women still are paid around $5,000 less on average than their male counterparts. If you’re a visual person like me, sometimes it helps to compare it this way.

Pay equity isn’t the only issue facing the energy industry, in terms of embracing diversity in its workforce. Women are also vastly less likely to hold board seats in this sector. According to a report from Bloomberg, boards in the energy sector are the least diverse of any industry in the world. In fact, only 8.2 percent of board seats occupied by women. It’s a steep climb to the top for women in this field.

How Does the Energy Industry Compare to Other Industry Pay Gaps?

To understand how bad the pay gap really is in energy, it helps to compare it to gaps in other industries. Using PayScale data, we’re able to show the industries with the highest and lowest gender pay gaps.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Industries With the Lowest Gender Pay Gaps in 2016

  • Educational Services, -0.6%
  • Tech Industry, -0.8%
  • Construction, -1.7%
  • Healthcare and Social Assistance, -1.8%
  • Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, -1.9%

Industries With the Highest Gender Pay Gaps in 2016

  • Energy, Oil, and Gas, -7.4%
  • Transportation and Warehousing, -4.9%
  • Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishing, -4.6%
  • Information, -4.4%
  • Finance and Insurance, -4.2%

Silver Lining? Energy Industry Says It Has Big Plans For Women … in 2035

If you’re a woman in the energy industry, it might interest you to know that things are supposed to get better … eventually. According to the American Petroleum Institute, women will account for 290,000 (16 percent) of the job opportunities in the energy industry by 2035. One-third of energy jobs are projected to be in management and professional fields. The catch? It’s going to take about 18 years for that to happen. Luckily, there are steps you can take now that will help you close the gender pay gap, long before the industry gets around to doing anything about it.

What Can You Do to Close the Gender Pay Gap?

Know How Much You’re Really Worth.

Use PayScale to get your free salary report to learn how much money you should be earning based on your experience, education, skills, and location. If your salary report reveals that you are underpaid, it might be time to talk to your employer about negotiating a higher salary. You could even consider negotiating better benefits, like extra PTO.

Join a Community.

There are so many good organizations out there for women, sometimes it’s hard to find the one that will benefit you the most. There are plenty of trade associations in states and countries across the globe.  But one mover and shaker, Pink Petro is a global community in 120 countries with social networking, learning, and careers geared at specifically for women who work in energy. You can also join Slack networks like Ladies Get Paid if you’re looking to build a network beyond the energy industry. You can also use Ladies Get Paid to scope out new job opportunities before they open up to the rest of the public.

Be an Advocate for Someone Else.

This is especially important if you work in a management role. If you feel like one of your employees is underpaid compared to other workers in their role, it’s up to you to be an advocate and go to bat for them. This applies to men, too. You can set an example for other male managers in the office.

Tell Us What You Think!

Do you think there is gender pay gap in the energy industry? We want to hear from you! Comment below or join the discussion on Twitter!

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