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What is the energy sector doing for diversity?

20/05 2020Posted by: 4mat Admin Subscribe to this blog
Innovation and improvement run deeply through the veins of the energy sector. So it should come as no surprise that the energy sector - known for its forward-thinking approach - is motivated to foster a diverse and inclusive workforce. 

While an alarmingly low 22% of the oil and gas workforce are women, in the budding renewable energy workforce, a more promising 32% are women. These statistics from the International Energy Association (IEA) highlight the pressing need to encourage a more diverse workforce, and not just in terms of gender. 

Here’s an overview of what the energy sector is doing for diversity and why we must ensure this translates into inclusion. 


Why diversity matters in the energy sector

Innovation is born from diversity and collaboration. The energy sector relies on teams of people with different knowledge and experiences to help provide the solution to a more efficient means of energy production. According to McKinsey, workforces that are diverse - both in terms of gender and ethnicity – are 71% more likely to be top performers

With mounting pressure on nations to build their economies sustainably, the energy sector must do everything in its power to advocate for diversity of thought. The energy sector must encourage all forms of diversity at all levels within the business.

Why inclusion matters

Where diversity is the hardware in a company – a person’s race, social class, neurodiversity - inclusion is the software. Inclusion refers to the establishment of an environment that encourages every person to bring his or her whole self to work and recognise their potential. 

To truly draw out the benefits of a diverse team, colleagues across the business must work together to ensure that the workplace is also inclusive. Because diversity without inclusion is like installing a new energy system that is designed to perform better and then not connecting the links up. If members of the team do not feel included in the discussions then companies will fail to leverage the diverse perspectives, approaches and unique outlooks. 

What RWE are doing to foster diversity

Diversity is a must have at RWE. We understand that forward-thinking companies in the energy sector must foster cultures of inclusion, with role modelling desired behaviours at all levels in order for them to be embraced throughout the organisation. We demonstrate our commitment to change by setting measurable KPIs, including for our Supervisory Board. In 2019, we fulfilled our target of a 30% ratio of females on the board as well as ensuring that no members sat on the board for longer than 15 years. This helps ensure that we have diversity of thought and fresh perspectives. 

We also understand that there are many ways to address diversity and how important it is that all colleagues have equal access to development and progression opportunities. At RWE, we have training and apprenticeships available to all age groups of employees to promote diversity in age, and our international job market with cross-border placement opportunities ensures diversity in culture.

These address three of our diversity dimension – gender and equality, age and country of origin. To achieve a holistic integration of diversity we actively promote two more dimensions. The support that we provide for workplace facilities and social counselling ensures that we are inclusive to those with a disability, meanwhile, to raise the profile of LGBT*IQ workplace equality RWE encourage all employees to live out their sexual orientations. Our engagement with ENEI – the UK's leading employer network for equality – helps us ensure our effort to foster a diverse workforce translates into an inclusive culture.

What the energy sector needs to do

Despite the lower proportion of women than men in the renewable energy sector, there has been some impressive progress towards and gender diverse workforce. The IEA Gender Diversity Initiative has identified areas in the energy sector where women are the minority and likely facing barriers - one being the patent process where only 11% of applications list a woman’s contribution. 

Organisations like the IEA must broaden their efforts to promote a diverse energy sector in terms of age, country of origin, disability and sexual orientation and identity. The knowledge transfer between people from different generations, ethnicities and backgrounds is essential for this innovative sector as it will be these fresh perspectives that bring better solutions and help our society transition towards a greener future.

Diversity is the future at RWE

We strive for high social standards and endeavour to foster diversity and inclusion in our corporate culture. The different ideas that our employees have brought over the years are what have made RWE the company it is today and the unique perspectives that diversity brings will enhance our future. Our outward orientation ensures that we collaborate with companies who are recognised as thought leaders in the Diversity landscape - like Women in Science and Engineering – and helps us keep an eye on what the energy sector is doing for diversity. 

For more insight into the energy sector read our blog on 5 interesting facts about energy.
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