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2 posts from December 2013

10 December 2013

Opportunity Now and PwC ask 100,000 women (and men) what they want from work

This week we bring you the exciting news that our UK firm is putting its weight behind a ground-breaking study entitled Project 28-40.

The study aims to better understand women’s experiences in the workplace and the barriers to career progression;  in the hope of educating businesses and levelling the playing field.  The survey, launched by Opportunity Now is the biggest poll of its type ever conducted, with a target of persuading 100,000 women from across the UK and Ireland to share their experiences of life at work.

Early analysis of the first 10,000 responses indicate that 62% of women feel pressured to succeed at both work and home, while 69% say society expects women to put family before career. Not surprisingly 72%, therefore, feel conflicted in their ability to balance family over career.

We recognise that women fail to be promoted at the same rate as men from the age of 28-40; a critical age for career development and advancement.  This gender differential in promotion rates is a problem for both women and organisations.  Understanding the experiences and perspectives of women will support businesses develop better initiatives that will benefit the whole talent population.

So why not play your part and invest 15 minutes of your time to complete the survey?

The survey is open to anyone in the UK and Ireland – regardless of age – who has worked within the past five years.  We’ve had close to 20,000 respondents to-date, but to get a real understanding of the issues, we need thousands more to go to www.project2840.comby 15 December and do the same.

Gaenor Bagley, executive board member and head of people at PwC UK, will be sharing the findings of this research project with all of our Gender Agenda readers in April.


04 December 2013

Building talent for the top – Spotlight on the oil and gas sector

The oil and gas sector is known for being dynamic and forward-looking; with attributes such as adapting to change and anticipating future problems known to serve them well.  PwC’s most recent Annual Global CEO Survey found that 63% of business leaders in energy (including oil and gas) cited availability of skills as a major concern.  

Building-talentIn this regard being forward-looking about talent and adapting and anticipating for sustainable talent strategies should undoubtedly be a rising priority for the sector.

PwC’s recent thought leadership ‘Building talent for the top – A study of women on boards in the oil and gas industry’ conducted in association with the Women’s Oil Council shines a spotlight on gender diversity in the oil and gas sector.  The results at the top like most industries are fairly ominous with only 11% of board seats in oil and gas companies held by women.


One of the fundamental reasons for a lack of female board directors is that women are under-represented at all levels in the oil and gas industry.  This presents both interesting challenges and opportunities for the oil and gas sector.   Internal talent and diversity strategies focused on retention, development and advancement are critical for success.  Likewise, so is attracting more women to the industry at all stages of the talent pipeline.  In the current talent environment no company can afford to cut itself off from 50% of the talent pool.  

However, attraction may prove more complex for the oil and gas sector!  PwC’s millennial research suggests that the oil and gas industry is one of the most unpopular to both male and female millennial talent.


This was reinforced further through our Building talent for the top interviews which revealed several negative perceptions of the industry are commonly held by women, namely that as a sector:

•    it is male dominated,
•    involves excessive compulsory travel to remote or challenging places,
•    requires physical labour better suited to men, and
•    requires a background in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths).  

The dearth of women in STEM disciplines is often cited as a key reason for the lack of women in oil and gas (currently only 27% of STEM graduates in G20 countries are female).  All this combined means the reality for the oil and gas sector is that innovative attraction strategies targeting the whole talent population are simply a must.  Lessons from my previous blog The power of one word should be explored, starting with strategies to enhance the attractiveness of the industry by highlighting the unique value it brings such as the opportunity to make a difference with ground-breaking work and the higher than average salaries on offer (that seem to currently be unknown beyond the industry).

With all this said it is no wonder this thought leadership report identifies Career start as one of four career catalyst points critical to addressing female representation gaps throughout the talent pipeline for the oil and gas sector.


Learn more about what can be done to address the gender gaps at each of these four stages by downloading the report here.