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Gender Balance In The Energy Sector Figures Published 

Gender Balance In The Energy Sector Figures Published 
03 June 2020
 

POWERful Women and PwC have today published the latest “state of the nation” on the gender balance at the top of the UK energy industry. 

The 2020 annual board statistics show progress in the number of women occupying board and executive board seats – now 21 per cent and 13 per cent respectively. 

The statistics also show that there is still a prevalence of all-male boards in the UK energy sector.

POWERful Women is a professional initiative that seeks to promote the professional growth and leadership development of women across the energy sector. Their target for the UK energy sector is for 30% of executive board seats and 40% of middle management roles to be occupied by women by 2030. 

 

“This year we have seen the most progress since we started compiling board statistics five years ago. The increase in the number of women in executive director positions is particularly noteworthy.  Nonetheless, there is a long, long way to go before the representation of women at senior levels is sufficient or sustainable.”

–Ruth Cairnie

Chair, POWERful Women 

Number of women at the top of the UK energy sector rises

 

This year’s analysis by PwC for POWERful Women looked at the composition of the boards of the top c. 80 companies in the UK energy sector, focussing on the most significant employers.

The results show:

  • 21% of board seats in the sector are occupied by women - a noticeable increase from 16% in 2019 and 13% in 2018
  • 13% of executive board seats are occupied by women – more than double last year’s 6%
  • 11 companies (15% of those surveyed) have now reached the POWERful Women target for 2030 of having at least 30% of their executive board seats occupied by women
  • Since the last review in 2019 there are 25 more female board members and the number of female executive directors has increased by two thirds
  • More than a third (38%) of the UK’s top energy companies have no women on their boards at all - an improvement on last year’s 42% but POWERful Women and PwC maintain that this remains “unacceptable”
  • More than two-thirds (79%) of the UK’s top energy companies have no women occupying executive board seats. This compares with 89% last year

Ruth Cairnie, Chair of POWERful Women, said: “This year we have seen the most progress since we started compiling board statistics five years ago. The increase in the number of women in executive director positions is particularly noteworthy.  Nonetheless, there is a long, long way to go before the representation of women at senior levels is sufficient or sustainable. 

“And special attention is needed with all the COVID-19 disruption to ensure that we don’t fall back on old habits and lose the progress that has been made – especially in building a strong pipeline of female talent for senior leaders who will tackle the energy challenges that lie ahead.  At times of uncertainty and disruption, the benefits of diversity and inclusion are more critical than ever.”

 

Greater diversity and inclusion

 

Evidence continues to show that greater diversity and inclusion in decision-making teams produces better business outcomes.  The latest report from McKinsey finds “companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 per cent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile—up from 21 per cent in 2017 and 15 per cent in 2014.”

In response to the lack of women at the top of the UK energy sector, in 2018 POWERful Women launched the Energy Leaders Coalition (ELC), a group of CEOs committed to increasing gender diversity and inclusion within their organisations and across the industry.  They are playing a leading role in POWERful Women’s drive to shift the gender balance.

Picture: A woman working on a laptop

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 03 June 2020

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