First, a riddle: what’s lower, wages for women in the oil and gas industry, or the industry’s overall profitability? Answer: they’re both rock bottom low.
Indeed, despite all the buzz around sexism in Silicon valley, new PayScale research shows that it is actually the Oil & Gas industry where the largest gender wage gap exists. Looking at the controlled wage gap, women make about seven percent less than men for doing the same job in this industry. This is compared to the smallest controlled gap is in the Educational Services industry, where women earn about half-a-percent less than men on average. The gender disparity doesn’t end with compensation. An Ernst&Young report shows that only 11% of global oil & gas senior executives are women.
Oil Execs: Slumping Profits Could be Boosted by More Women in the Talent Pipeline
The only thing as abysmal as the state of the gender gap in the oil industry is the profitability of the industry itself. According to the Price Waterhouse Cooper 2016 Oil and Gas Trends report, oil prices dropped below US$40 per barrel at the end of 2015, down more than 60 percent from their soaring high in the summer of 2014. The report stated that the economic state of the industry is only expected to worsen in 2016.
Obviously, the gender wage gap isn’t the sole reason for the demise of the oil industry. A glut of supply, concerns about climate change, and a drop in exploration projects are all major factors.
However, when you consider reports like this one from the Peterson Institute for International Economics report which finds that women leaders can add 6% to the bottom line, overlooking equity in women’s wages and leadership opportunities may be an oversight that the oil & gas industry can’t–wait for it–afford.