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Women in the Oil and Gas Industry– Opportunities for Women


The Oil and Gas industry in Australia is facing a critical skills shortage and the level of growth in jobs is set to continue. Currently only a small percentage of jobs in the industry are filled by women. Increasing the participation of women in the sector is seen as a key strategy to addresss the current skills shortage. Many companies are looking to improve their recruitment and retention of women as they recognise the significant opportunities to increase business productivity through increasing women's participation in the sector.

Increased Opportunity for Women

Employment in the Oil and Gas sector is often characterized by its remote working environments and hardy physical labour during long shifts. In the past, this has contributed to discouraging women from working in the industry, especially if they have a family and children to take care of. Oil and Gas companies are working hard redress these and other issues preventing women's participation. New opportunities for women are being created through:
  • Flexible work packages
  • Parent-friendly work rosters
  • Female-appropriate uniforms
  • Onsite childcare
  • Comfortable working conditions
  • Excellent pay rates
  • Gender-inclusive work environments
  • Extended maternity leave
  • Breast-feeding facilities
  • Couples on-site housing

Challenges

Despite these new opportunities, it’s important for women to be aware of the challenges they will face working in the industry. Living away from home and loved ones can put pressure on relationships. Long hours and shift work can take its toll, especially on working mothers who must return home to the proverbial ‘second shift’. If you can master the balance between family demands and on-site work, the income advantages and flexible work packages may allow for a better lifestyle overall.

Best Jobs for Women

Oil and Gas jobs are not all about hard-hats and heavy labour. Although many women now work in traditionally male roles, such as drilling and driving, employment opportunities are abundant in all fields. It helps if you have previous experience and qualifications, but women can find Oil and Gas jobs in both skilled and unskilled positions.

Skilled Jobs for Women

As the industry continues to grow, Australian companies are crying out for qualified people and women can help meet the skills shortage. Qualifications in the following areas will get you a foot in the door, even if you have no previous experience in the industry.
  • Scientific Roles: Women with scientific university degrees are in high demand. Jobs are available for females qualified in geology, geo-science, surveying, engineering, chemical engineering, social science, environment management and mechanical engineering, to name a few.
  • Business Roles: Naturally, Oil and Gas is “big business”. This opens the door for women with a business degree, especially in management, accounting, project management, human resources and occupational health and safety. 
  • IT Roles: As the Oil and Gas industry evolves, so must its supporting information technology (IT) and software. Women can find work in IT areas including database management, systems engineering, helpdesk, systems support and software programming.
  • Trade-based Roles: Electricians, boilermakers, carpenters and welders are all in demand. There are just as many opportunities for female “tradies” as males.
  • Hard-Hat Roles: It’s is becoming more common to see women in hard-hat roles as drillers, drivers, or mobile plant operators (i.e. driving front-end loaders, bulldozers, excavators, backhoes, graders, scrapers, and forklift trucks). Although you don’t need tertiary qualifications, you will need appropriate training and certification
  • Other Qualified Roles: Think outside the box. There are plenty of industry jobs which require people who are qualified in site-support fields. Good examples include qualified fitness instructors, personal trainers, chefs, psychologists and medical staff. 

Unskilled Jobs for Women

Even if you are unqualified, you can still get a job in the Oil and Gas industry. In most cases, you will be asked to complete pre-employment training, which usually includes a site-specific safety induction and first-aid course. (link to Senior First Aid Certificate) Women without industry-specific qualifications have found success in the following areas.
  • Office Administration
  • Catering (e.g. kitchen assistants, counter-hands)
  • Cleaning
  • Field work (data gathering)
  • Data entry
Women who begin their careers in entry-level positions may find opportunities to move into other roles. For example, an office administrator could transition to a job as a safety officer or drill operator.

Related Resources for Women in Oil and Gas

 
Visit our Oil and Gas Lifestyle Guide for more articles about life in the Oil and Gas industry.
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