Understanding the Gender Gaps in Wages, Employment, and Career Trajectories in the Energy Sector – Analysis
First, the relatively low employment rates of women in energy companies and the concentration of women in low-wage businesses (sorting) and occupations (segregation) underscore the importance of ensuring that recruitment and promotion in the sector are impartial. These trends are linked, as a greater representation of women in low-wage businesses and occupations is likely to contribute to low levels of female employment in the energy sector more generally. In particular, the findings suggest a lack of job mobility and advancement for women in energy jobs compared to those in other sectors, which will affect both the attraction and retention of a workforce. diversified. If women do not advance in the energy sector, there will be fewer female role models and mentors to attract more women. Moreover, if women working in the energy sector cannot progress in their careers, they will be motivated to change sectors.
The low employment rate of women in the energy sector is also certainly partly due to a pipeline problem, since there is still a disproportionately low number of women STEM degreesreducing the pool of potential candidates for certain businesses and professions. Specialization differences between men and women is partly explained by gender norms and expectations, which are further reinforced by the lack of female role models. Thus, measures taken to ensure transparency and fairness in recruitment and performance evaluation will help to both attract and retain more women in the energy sector. Corporate training on unconscious gender bias, especially among managers, can also play an important role in establishing fair hiring practices and performance reviews.
Secondly, elements related to the quality of the work environment can also have significant negative impacts on the career trajectories of employees in the sector. The taken procedures – beyond salary incentives – to help women achieve and reconcile their professional and personal goals are essential. These measures include focusing on improving work-life balance through the provision of adequate parental leave, affordable and quality childcare, flexible working arrangements , but also to create a more favorable environment through the use of mentoring, career guidance and training programmes. Raising awareness of unconscious gender bias and appropriate behavior in the workplace can also be key to ensuring a safe and attractive workplace for women and men. In addition, effective policies against sexual harassment are essential. Although many such measures may theoretically be gender-neutral, they may have disproportionately greater benefits for female employees.
And finally, the relatively high pay gap in the energy sector between men and women with similar skills due to discrimination and bargaining highlights the importance of ensuring that workers (and others) are protected against discriminatory practices. As a high-rent sector, bargaining efforts and discrimination risks are more profitable. Although we are unable to assess the importance of factors driving gender differences in bargaining and discrimination, gender biases in company practices related to wage setting may play a role. . A number of countries have introduced « Salary Transparency Toolsto help close the gender pay gap. In some cases these focus on providing information, but in other cases penalties can be imposed on companies where the gap is particularly large. In addition, collective bargaining can play an important role in reducing the scope of discriminatory policies, including those related to gender.
There is also evidence that women are less likely to demand wages that reflect their true contributions to business rents. On the employers’ side, a recent study shows that while women and men are equally likely to ask for a raise, men are more likely to grant their request, even when taking into account contextual factors such as education, seniority and type of contract. These explanations apply to the entire workforce, so it is worth considering why these issues might be greater in the energy sector compared to the non-energy sector.
In conclusion, this article has reported on the analysis of quantitative data related to employee and firm characteristics and market structure on gender gaps in employment, career trajectories and wages. However, assessing the implications of discriminatory practices as well as the benefits of policies aimed at addressing them requires further work, obtaining qualitative information directly from those affected. Such research was recently conducted by the Nuclear Energy Agency, which surveyed over 8,000 women working in the nuclear energy industry across the world in 2021. The top reported barriers faced by women in the sector are the lack of transparency and pay equity, sexual harassment in the workplace, a lack of female role models and the absence of measures to support work-life balance, particularly with regard to pregnancy and family obligations. All barriers were identified as having a negative impact on gender pay gaps and career trajectories. These findings are consistent with those of other sectors who have historically employed mostly men and who also face the challenge of retaining women.