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A truly diverse and inclusive oil industry can maximise North Sea recovery

Beth Lang, co-chair, The Network at Spirit Energy

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Feb 06, 2018

Since the oil price collapsed in 2014, collaboration has become a well-worn buzzword in the oil and gas industry.

Collaboration on how to get more oil and gas out of the North Sea, how to do it cheaper, how to do it more efficiently – essentially, how to work with our partners, supply chain and even competitors to deliver real results which impact on the bottom line.

We’ve been doing this for nearly four years now. The tangible results have either been realised or will be in the next couple of years, or we at least understand the opportunity. It’s time to look at how we can work together on the intangible benefits which will help this sector continue to prosper for decades to come. It’s time to put a diverse and inclusive workforce in the oil industry at the top of our agenda.

Delivering through Diversity

Companies are beginning to back initiatives which encourage their teams to bring their whole selves to work – at Spirit Energy, we have The Network, an employee-led, volunteer organisation which works with our teams and senior leadership to raise awareness of diversity and inclusion, provide training and inspire the next generation to consider a career in energy. But in isolation, it’s not enough – with a coordinated, collaborative effort across the industry, we can really start to change the perception of the oil and gas industry for the better with a network of companies and organisations determined to attract the fresh, innovative thinking we need to unlock the additional barrels of oil and gas out there.

Years of research have found that a diverse organisation makes for better business – just last month, McKinsey & Company’s Delivering Through Diversity report found companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity at the executive level are 33% more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile. Add to this a worldwide survey by advisory services firm DNV GL, which found that the number of executives who are positive about the future of the oil and gas industry has doubled in the past year, suggesting greater confidence and increased spending. With increased spending comes the potential for increased recruitment – and so what better time for us all to work together on the intangible benefit of attracting top talent to the industry, regardless of any differences, to look at our challenges and our opportunities, and to bring a new perspective?

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