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PwC Report Says Net-Zero Goals at Risk from Lack of Gender Diversity in Industry

PwC Report Says Net-Zero Goals at Risk from Lack of Gender Diversity in Industry
19 May 2021
 

Data released by POWERful Women & PwC UK has demonstrated that the energy industry may be ill-equipped for its net-zero targets, in part due to a lack of gender diversity.

They argue that a lack of diverse talent within a company lowers their ability to innovate and meet the urgent challenges of the energy transition.

 

"This year’s figures show that we are ignoring a vast pool of female talent – only 18 out of 80 companies have any female executive directors, for example. That doesn’t bode well for success in the urgent race to net-zero. We need to deliver diversity much faster if our sector and our economy are going to be fit for the future."  

–Ruth Cairnie

Chair, POWERful Women

 

The 2021 annual board statistics show that the industry is lacking in gender diversity in its senior ranks, with year-on-year figures on female representation remaining alarmingly low. 

Evidence shows that greater diversity and inclusion in decision-making teams produces better business outcomes. It has also been estimated that 400,000 people will need to be recruited into the workforce over the next 30 years to achieve the government's 2050 net-zero target and that the UK energy sector needs to double in size.

 

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18 out of the Top 80 UK Energy Companies Have Women In Exec Director Roles

 

This year’s analysis by PwC UK for POWERful Women looks at the composition of the boards of the top 80 most significant UK energy employers, estimated to comprise more than 150,000 jobs in the industry. 

The results show:

  1. 24 per cent of all board seats across the sector are occupied by women
  2. 14 per cent of executive director seats are occupied by women
  3. 28 per cent of companies still have no women on their board
  4. More than two-thirds of companies have no women in executive director roles – the same as last year.
  5. Only 18 out of the top 80 UK energy companies have any female exec directors.

 

Ruth Cairnie, Chair of POWERful Women, commented: "Our energy industry is sitting centre stage of the green recovery. It has to transform itself completely and support the transition for all other sectors. Yet, woefully, we still lack the diversity we need in the top ranks.

"This year’s figures show that we are ignoring a vast pool of female talent – only 18 out of 80 companies have any female executive directors, for example. That doesn’t bode well for success in the urgent race to net-zero. We need to deliver diversity much faster if our sector and our economy are going to be fit for the future."  

 

Image

Picture: a graphic showing the latest figures concerning women in board seats. The graphs show that only 24 per cent of all board seats in the energy sector are occupied by women. Also, only 14 per cent of executive director roles in the sector are occupied by women.

 

Elisabeth Hunt, PwC energy partner, added: “Our industry continues to completely reinvent itself in the face of climate change and the 2050 net-zero target. This transformation, at both an industry and individual company level, can only happen successfully if the entire pool of talent is harnessed to meet its full potential. That’s why monitoring the progress of female representation is critical.

“It’s perhaps understandable why progress towards diversity targets has stalled in the last 12 months as it’s been one of the most stressful times this industry has ever seen. This should not preclude, however, the need for boards to react now, looking at their composition and whether they are best positioned to guide their companies into a post-pandemic and decarbonised future that will look very different to the past.”

In response to the lack of women at the top of the UK energy sector, POWERful Women launched the Energy Leaders’ Coalition (ELC) in 2018, a group of 15 CEOs committed to increasing gender diversity and inclusion within their organisations and across the industry. 

Picture: a photograph of two people working at a desk with a hand-held tablet and tools such as a tape measure

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 19 May 2021

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