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This year International Women’s Day 2022 has the theme of ‘gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.’ Celebrating the contribution of females around the world towards building a more sustainable future. 

The global energy sector is changing for the better and at a rapid speed, renewed by a commitment to invest into renewable sources of energy and making bold strides towards a cleaner, greener world. 

The conventional fossil-fuel derived energy sector was traditionally a male-dominated industry however there are now proportionately more women involved in renewable energy projects globally. This type of progress means that females are taking a more active role working on vital planet-protecting projects in a wide range of technical and senior-level positions. To use their knowledge and expertise to confront issues of climate change and pollution head-on is progress both for gender equality and diversity as well as the sector itself.  

It’s an exciting opportunity, but to enjoy the benefits of this huge untapped resource - more companies need to do more to reach fair, sustainable gender diversity goals. 

This International Women’s Day we have much progress to celebrate. Some of the traditional barriers to success that were so difficult to overcome within the conventional power sector have been dismantled - or at least lowered!  But while we are undoubtedly now moving in the right direction, there’s still much work to be done.

Gender equality and the power sector

Recent reports from industry (IRENA) have suggested that renewable energy employs about 32% women, compared to 22% in the energy sector overall.

While this is positive, women are still problematically underrepresented in renewable energy jobs; in most organisations, bodies and associations, men outnumber women. This is a theme that occurs at all levels, but it’s most obvious at the top - in the most skilled technical positions, and in managerial and policy directing roles.

So why is this still the case? The multi-faceted reasons are relatively well understood. They range from the stereotypes and perceptions about gender roles that still exist, to gender imbalances in the STEM fields. There’s also still a lack of adequate awareness about the opportunities that exist for women in the renewable energy sector, as well as old-fashioned embedded attitudes and prevailing hiring attitudes that are sadly still prevalent in some areas. 

During their careers, some women continue to encounter further barriers to retention and career advancement. The ability to stay in a given job and opportunities for professional growth are shaped by a number of factors including the ‘glass ceiling effect and the double burden females face in balancing work and family during the childbearing years. 

Furthermore, wage inequalities are still also an issue and many women in renewable energy still earn less than men in the same position

The importance of gender equality

Smashing the remaining barriers women face within the energy industry is not just the right thing to do, of course, it makes sound business sense too! 

A diverse workforce helps a business in many ways. Having a wider range of people, from different backgrounds and with varying opinions brings fresh ideas, develops leadership and culture and tackles projects from a more rounded perspective. 

With more women competing for jobs, there is an increased opportunity to get the best person for the role through the interview process. You get a wider pool of talent and a broader spectrum of skills, education, experience and outlook.

Reports from around the world warn of a looming skills gap, as industrialised and emerging economies transform their energy industries. In some countries, the trials of locating, securing, relocating and keeping the best renewable energy professionals are already challenging CEOs, CFOs, VPs and Construction Directors of major energy projects. While in others, it’s these senior positions themselves that are proving increasingly tough to fill!

Because of this, it’s fair to say that gender imbalances pose a threat to the growth of the renewable energy sector. Those skills shortages could be minimised or avoided if the renewable energy industry engages with and retains more women to fill this growing need for skills. 

Therefore, promoting gender equality and including gender considerations on all levels should be a high priority in both the public and private sectors.

Attract and retain female talent

At CMC we’re currently supporting many advanced engineering and energy projects across the US, Asia and Europe. We’re fortunate enough to work with some amazing female talent on all types of wind, solar, battery storage & hydropower projects. 

We’ve learnt to understand the types of skills and abilities that women bring to international power project development and how they impact each stage of the design and build process. From preliminary feasibility study, through to project design and then construction management oversight, we get to see great women working on groundbreaking renewables projects the world over. 

As one of a minority of STEM-focused consultancy firms with specific initiatives aimed at attracting and retaining women, we can help you to secure and keep the best professionals. We know what works - because we do it in our own company - and we do it for our energy clients across the world.

We will advise you on how to champion diverse and inclusive hiring in your workplace and across your organisation. For example, we regularly help our clients to develop an employee value proposition and employer brand that differentiates their business to attract a more diverse talent pool. 

Our consultants train hiring managers in how to write gender and neutral job advertisements to attract more women to interview. They show companies how to create attractive policies, such as parental leave, part-time positions, flexible work hours and equal opportunities for professional development.  Then, once their job adverts go live, we provide unrivalled access to a diverse global network of STEM professionals, with gender-balanced shortlists.

When it comes to the interview process, we help companies with how to conduct a structured interview based on specific requirements of the job and situational interview questions. Or we demonstrate how to facilitate a diverse interview panel in the hiring process and remove any unconscious bias to achieve the best results.

Why listen to us?

Talk is cheap and we prove our words through action. Women are represented at every level of our business, including two female members of our executive board, and we take a gender-balanced hiring approach to our own consultants.

We hold ourselves accountable through our annual diversity and inclusion report that highlights the actions we’ve taken and reflects the true results of their impact. Through being open and transparent about our own diversity approach we can ensure we continue to make sustainable, meaningful, action-led change and encourage others within the STEM industry to do the same. 

In 2020 we launched the ASCEND network for female employees. Established to connect, attract, retain and progress more women in our business. Unique in our industry, ASCEND welcomes all employees who identify as female to regular webinars, 1-2-1 and speed-mentoring, expert-led coaching and guest speakers. This year I'm proud to be hosting ASCEND's first LinkedIn Live panel event, in partnership with Amoria Bond: where a panel of experts will be discussing the industry's opportunities for women and why gender diversity is essential for sustained success and growth in our sector.

Because we walk our talk, our employees are equipped to confidently promote and protect inclusive practices and diverse workplaces both internally, and for our clients and candidates too. 

I believe that as we head towards a more sustainable future, both the energy industry and indeed the planet can only benefit from a stronger female presence and voice.

The urgency of the climate change issue shows us how much we need ‘all hands on deck.’ It demands a response that brings the best thoughts and talent from all of the best people. When we redress the imbalance and better capture women’s skills and perspective, we create better solutions and responses to the global issues we share.

Get in touch today!

On this International Women’s Day we look back at the great strides we have made towards gender equality within fields of sustainable development and recognise its importance in moving towards a truly sustainable future. 

Over many years we have nurtured strong relationships across networks of the brightest female renewable energy talent.  We are well placed to support any offshore and onshore solar, wind or battery storage projects on the green, decarbonised horizon with our diverse teams of expert consultants. So get in touch today