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The glass ceiling

Two out of three Australian employees believe organisations do not do enough to help women into senior management, according to a survey by recruiting experts Hays Oil & Gas.

Hays Oil & Gas surveyed over 1,100 employees about their thoughts on the proportion of women to men in senior management; of those surveyed 64% said organisations do not do enough to help women reach the top or that more could be done. The remaining 36% said organisations already do enough to help women into senior management.

“Within most industries there is a need to propel more women to senior management ranks,” said Simon Winfield, Regional Director of Hays Oil & Gas. “Women are not only in the minority in traditionally male-dominated industries, like trading desks or on resources projects. They’re also under represented across the spectrum of Australia’s senior management workforce.

“From our experience, we know that many women look for a new job because of inadequate career development and progression opportunities. So a program to assist women into senior management will not only expand the pool of talent internally with leadership potential, but it can also help improve retention rates.”

Hays Oil & Gas have proposed the following practical steps as a means to boost the number of women progressing onto senior management:

  • Establish steering groups, active mentorships and coaching or networking programs to allow women to plan their career path, access career development and settle into new roles. 
  • Train both male and female managers in the value of a diverse workforce and provide them with strategies to develop female staff into senior management roles.
  • Develop a succession plan to identify up and coming people and opportunities for growth.
  • Utilise useful metrics to measure female representation in the business, ensuring that the number of women in senior management reflects the number of women employed overall.
  • Review work/life balance initiatives, such as telecommuting, since women typically remain primary caregivers. There is anecdotal evidence that suggests this strategy could help women progress into senior management.
  • Maintain open communication with staff and do not make assumptions about an employee’s career path or workplace needs based upon their gender, family responsibilities or age.
  • Consider how you can engage with employees on maternity leave better. Keep in touch and consider that the transition back to work may be bumpy initially, but ask what you can do to smooth the road.

Published on 21/06/2011


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