By Akani Chauke in Johannesburg, South Africa
AN executive has advocated for the inclusion
of more women in the oil and gas sector to address the skills shortage
and lack of innovation.
Pan African energy lawyer NJ Ayuk, who is managing partner of Centurion
Law Group, a pan-African corporate law conglomerate that specialises in
energy, extractive industries and the financial sector, noted women
represented about 22 percent of the industry’s global workforce in 2017.
Participation dropped to 17 percent at senior and executive-level roles.
Only one percent of the chief executive officers in oil and gas were
A study released at the 2016 World Economic Forum, "the Future of Jobs,"
reported a 32 percent pay gap in the oil and gas industry globally.
Another study by the University of Massachusetts in 2018 found that oil
and gas had the highest rate of sexual harassment charges of any
industry in the United States.
“No wonder then that there is a skills shortage,” Ayuk stated.
He said oil and gas were competing for the same kinds of people as
technology firms and the renewable energy industry.
“Both of these sectors are new, exciting, dynamic, and above all, are
associated with progress and progressive values.”
Ayuk is the author of a new book, “Billions at Play: The Future of
African Energy,” in which he states that to stand any chance of
recruiting and retaining top talent, the oil and gas industry must
present itself in a similar way and that process starts with a genuine
commitment to gender equality and women empowerment.
He stated the industry could take actions all along the chain, from
supporting programmes encouraging young women to take part in science,
technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
Ayuk said this would increase the visibility of women in senior
positions and ensure women received the same chances to be promoted as
“Diversity of gender brings different perspectives and life experiences
that in turn lead to innovation and new, creative ideas,” he said.
Focusing on Africa specifically, Ayuk said there was even more that the
oil and gas industry could do to support women in the local communities
their companies were active in.
“The oil and gas industry is missing a golden opportunity to empower
women by partnering with and purchasing from female entrepreneurs, who
could provide a vast range of services and goods, from logistics to
engineering to food services,” he said.
“One of the most glaring examples of the oil and gas gender gap is the
industry's failure to work with local female-owned micro, small, and
medium-sized enterprises as supplies, service providers, and partners.”
– CAJ News