Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Energy

What are we doing to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within the energy industry?


Within the industry, the tendency to default to women when counting for diversity is commonplace. While a step in the right direction, it is important to remember how broad the DEI umbrella is. Although some positive actions have been taken, energy still falls short when compared to other industries.


A recent survey done by technology company Diversio using AI algorithms that identify employee gender and ethnicity in the energy industry found that women account for 32% of the global energy sector workforce, while racial and ethnic minorities account for 22%. Diversio also found that Black and Latin individuals are under-represented when compared to population. The results highlighted that while women make up 39% of entry level roles, they represent just 26% of all executives and C-Suite leaders. Racial and ethnic minorities C-Suite percentage is even lower, at only 20%.


Although women account for nearly half of the global labour market, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that women make up only 22% of the traditional energy and 32% of the renewables’ workforce.


A 2021 report titled “Diversity in the U.S. Energy Workforce” written by the National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) found similar statistics within the United States. The U.S. energy sector has below-average representation of Hispanic or Latinx workers and Black or African American workers. Eight percent of energy workers are Black or African American compared to a 12 percent national workforce average. Similarly, Hispanic or Latinx individuals comprise 16 percent of energy workers, despite representing 18 percent of the national labor force.


On the other side of the border, according to Statistics Canada, nearly 31% of the jobs in the Canadian oil and gas sector are held by women. Currently over 35% of jobs in the Canadian oil and gas sector are held by immigrants, and in 2019, workers identified as Indigenous comprised 6.3 per cent of total employment in the oil and gas sector.


What are other industries doing that energy isn’t?


According to Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers for Diversity 2022” list, Progressive (insurance) is the #1 place in America for diversity. How do they do it?


Progressive looks to four primary DEI objectives to evaluate success:

  1. Maintaining a fair and inclusive work environment. “At Progressive, we’re committed to creating an environment where our people feel welcomed, valued, and respected”.
  2. Reflect the customers we serve. “To serve our customers, we must understand them. We seek to be diverse in our employee demographics, experiences, and perspectives”.
  3. Leadership reflects the people they lead. “Our goal is for our leaders to represent the people they lead, and we aspire to double the representation of people of color in senior leadership by the end of 2025”.
  4. Contribute to our communities. “We’ll use Progressive’s resources to support meaningful change in pursuit of equality”.


To learn more about DEI and best practices as it relates to hiring and training, please tune in to our CEO Alex Taimuri’s lightning talk, “Hiring for Diversity”. Along with the detailed dive into DEI hiring, Alex will be sitting on the panel “Closing the Representation Gap.”  Alex will highlight best practices the energy sector should think and act on when working to be more diverse in its hiring and retention practices. 


“DEI starts from the top and strategy and culture are interwoven into this journey.  DEI efforts require an individual behavioral change and shift in mindset.” – Alex Taimuri


During the panel discussion, Alex will unpack the 4 best practices for hiring:

  1. Standardize interview practices
  2. Training hiring managers on unconscious bias and how it shows up in the interview process
  3. Monitor interview and candidate hiring demographics for accountability
  4. Involve Employee Resource Groups in hiring and onboarding process.


He’ll also address the employee life cycle and how best to support employees from a DEI lens.


Spectators will have an opportunity to pose questions to Alex and other lightning speakers on bias-free approaches to hiring and fast-tracking talent. See you there!


Have you been looking forward to hearing Alex speak but are unable to attend? Stay tuned! Capstone ITS will be hosting a webinar on DEI later this year with both Alex and Diana Reyes, a DEI specialist (date TBA).