Summary of Untapped Reserves

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A few years ago, the oil boom made Williston, North Dakota, an almost all-male town. Only one-fifth of workers in the oil and gas industry are female; only construction has a lower proportion of women. The World Petroleum Council, an international oil and gas group, teamed with the Boston Consulting Group to create a thorough and helpful guide to reducing the industry’s gender gap. getAbstract recommends this report especially to senior managers in the oil and gas industry, but everyone with an interest in diversity will find it useful.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why only 20% of workers in the oil and gas industry are female, and
  • How the industry can improve its gender diversity.

About the Authors

The World Petroleum Council is an international group that provides a platform for discussing oil and gas issues. The Boston Consulting Group is a business strategy firm.



Women constitute a fifth of workers in oil and gas. The industry is second only to construction for its low proportion of female employees. Often, oil and gas companies relegate women to office jobs, rather than to technical or senior executive positions. Only 1% of oil and gas CEOs are women. Men tend to blame the gender gap on women being less flexible, whereas women are more likely to say they receive less support and get skipped over for promotions. The lack of diversity hurts the industry, which already contends with fluctuating oil prices, mass retirement and “game-changing technological advances.” Oil and gas companies need to expand their talent pool by improving recruitment and retention of women in the field. Better gender balance overall can “reap a host of benefits, including improved organizational performance, creativity, decision making and morale.” The industry can close the gender gap more effectively on all levels by taking action in three areas:

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