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Council I&D Workshop Examines State of Diversity in Sector

More than 60 individuals from 30 Member Companies joined a workshop to analyze results of the Council’s 2021 Inclusion & Diversity Study and discuss next steps and action plans for the sector to build on its progress since 2018.

The study, conducted in partnership with Accenture, found that despite the pandemic and lower oil prices in 2020, the percentage of women in the U.S. energy technology and services sector rose from 16% to nearly 20% over the past three years, countering a recent trend of women dropping out of the overall national workforce. The research quantified for the first time racial and ethnic representation, finding these groups comprise 25% of the sector’s workforce and setting an important baseline.

The workshop, led by Council I&D Engagement Committee Chair Lamonica Spivey, Inclusion, Diversity & Corporate Social Responsibility Director, TechnipFMC, and Council COO Molly Determan, included a high-level summary of the study’s results by Diana Alcala, Accenture; a panel discussion of findings moderated by Angela Dickson, Learning Manager NAM (Leadership & Professional Development), TechnipFMC; and small group breakout sessions for participants to analyze results from the perspectives of different stakeholders in the industry.

“I’m really encouraged about the progress we’ve made since the last study, which means the focus and attention we’re putting in this area are working,” said Council Advisory Board Member Soma Somasundaram, President and CEO, ChampionX, during the panel discussion. “The study also points out where the gaps lie and so there is a lot of work to be done. We’re excited about the study findings and how they will inform our own D&I journey.”

“I was pleased to see progress on the technical roles,” said Council Advisory Board Member Melissa Cougle, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Frank’s International. “Not just hiring back office personnel but really trying to embrace getting people into operational roles. One of the gaps that resonates is getting a formal D&I strategy in place.”

Hardik Bheda, Director of Operations, Rig Pressure Control Group, NOV, agreed with observations from Cougle and Somasundaram, and delved into issues to be worked through to increase diversity. “With the pandemic, there have been a lot of flexible work programs that were the need of the hour,” he said. “It’s put a spotlight on what we need to consider in making our operations as flexible as they can be to make a career in the industry more attractive to women and minorities.”

Council I&D Engagement Committee Vice Chair Maria Lorente, HR Director, Schlumberger, said it’s important for the industry to hold itself accountable to measurable results as it’s doing with the study and workshops to develop action plans.

“The results show the importance of leadership,” Lorente said. “As an HR director, the findings show we need to think through the talent lifecycle — recruiting, retention and advancement.”

Somasundaram said it’s critical for leadership to be purposeful in their inclusion and diversity efforts. “I’m speaking of commitment, alignment and engagement,” he said. “People have to see my personal commitment on this. Second, is aligning the organization around that commitment and a clear strategy. And last, I have to be really engaged as CEO. This cannot be outsourced.”

During breakout sessions, participants analyzed the study and comments from panelists from through the lens of CEOs, human resources, operations and ESG. The small groups shared their takeaways, brainstormed ways of fostering organizational support for diversity, equity and inclusion, and developed key questions stakeholders may have in creating strategies to improve inclusion and diversity.

The Council is hosting a workshop on August 5 to build on the work from this meeting and develop actionable recommendations companies can implement to continue progress.

For additional information or to get involved with the Council’s work on diversity and inclusion, please contact Council COO Molly Determan.


Kevin Broom, Director Communications and Research, writes about the Council’s sector-specific best practices and leadership. Click here to subscribe to the Council’s newsletter, which highlights industry practices, workforce development, Council activities and more.
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