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Call to bridge gender gap in energy sector

Abu Dhabi, January 15, 2012

Global experts will gather in Abu Dhabi to discuss ways to promote greater participation of women in the oil and gas industry and bridge the gender-generation gap during a major industry summit.

The 'Leaders of the Future Summit' will be held at the Westin Golf Resort and Spa Hotel in the UAE capital from April 1 to 4.

The summit will see senior oil and gas industry professionals from all over the GCC and Mena region share their experiences and discuss solutions to the industrial challenges including the gender and generation gap issues.

With the increasing number of trained female university graduates, who in many cases surpass the academic credentials of their male colleagues, HR policymakers are now forced to rethink their employment strategies to accommodate the diverse set of skills this upcoming talent pool has to offer, said experts.

As different industries adjust themselves to the changing reality, the oil and gas sector still struggles to transform this vision into reality, they remarked.

A wealth of opportunities for women and graduates in technical fields revealed as GCC oil & gas companies re-haul their gender and generation HR strategies in order to achieve nationalization targets set by U.A.E. 2030 vision

The gender gap dominating a number of industries throughout the GCC and Mena region has been widely publicised in recent years.

In line with the UAE.’s 2030 vision, all parts of society will endeavor to contribute in closing the gender gap persistent in the country’s oil and gas industry.

The ever widening generation gap and the resulting need for skilled manpower highlight the urgency of deploying the vast skill pool of the upcoming female generation, said the experts.

Moreover, in line with growing international exposure and discovery of the advantages of diversity within organizations, the issue of gender equality is also gaining momentum.

“Women need to have access to all career opportunities in E&P without limitations” observed Pierre Bismuth, senior advisor at Schlumberger Business Consulting who will deliver the keynote opening speech at the summit.

'However, to get women to take advantage of this access is not always an easy task for the oil and gas companies,' he pointed out.

'As the nature of the job may be less attractive to female applicants than in more traditional sectors of choice, these energy sectors continue to face challenges with regards to attracting, developing and retaining women in their organization,' Bismuth pointed out.

The cultural role assumed by women in the society as family nurturers is another barrier to consider and to address in order to help female employees balance their work and home life, he added.

To overcome these complex challenges, the oil & gas companies have started working hand in hand with the academia in order to make use of the major intellectual capital of the region.

One of such partnerships is carried out by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) and Petroleum Institute, in the form of Women in Science and Engineering program (Wise).

Directed by Dr Nadia Al Hasani, the Wise program is especially designed to introduce and promote greater incorporation of women into technical and engineering fields of the industry.

'The Wise program is the result of the commitment of Adnoc and the dedication of the Petroleum Institute to educating future generations of engineers to work in the oil and gas industry,' said Dr Al Hasani.

The first cohort of 45 female graduates, of whom 40 are Emirati, have recently joined Adnoc and its operating companies in Abu Dhabi and are proving themselves to be capable engineers and scientists, and effective agents of change, she noted.

'Their success story is a result of the Petroleum Institute’s pioneering Wise program which reflects a central understanding of rigorous academic requirements and the UAE’s norms and traditions,' she added.

The summit has been officially endorsed by Wise, Petroleum Institute and IEEE Women in Engineering Affinity Group - Saudi Section (East).-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Energy | Oil | gas | Employment | Women | gap | Gender | Future Summit |

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