Attracting and retaining young talent – and women especially – should be a serious priority for oil and gas companies. Even in a region like Mena, which has a high proportion of well-educated youth, many younger people don’t consider the hydrocarbon sector attractive.
That was a focus of last week’s Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference. To meet global commitments on climate change and contend with volatility, the industry must reform and for that it needs young people with new ideas. But young people want their professional lives to be consistent with their values; they want to make a positive difference.
Oil and gas companies must fundamentally overhaul their approach to diversity and inclusion, confronting longstanding gender imbalances. Younger people – both women and men – are put off by the lingering sexism that persists in the sector. Women make up a significant proportion of the young talent that oil and gas companies need. The Mena region has a high proportion of women studying science and engineering but there is little evidence that this helps them to enter and thrive in the region’s key industry.
The UAE has made advances in gender equality at its national oil company – Adnoc, for example, has had women in top positions and increased its percentage of female employees. But there is still a lack of will in this regard at the top of many companies. To attract innovative young men and women, the oil business needs to transform. Strong senior leadership and real culture change are needed.
Laury Haytayan, Mena director, Natural Resource Governance Institute, US
A clash of conservatism and traditions with the law
Regarding your story Dozens arrested around flashpoint Indian temple (November 20), referring to the ongoing agitation and protests in the Indian southern state of Kerala surrounding the controversial Sabarimala temple, this has become a battleground between faith and law.
A total of 68 people have been arrested after female devotees were stopped from going into the temple. Yet the highest court in India has given its verdict, saying there are no restrictions for women.
Unfortunately, centuries of tradition and conservatism seem to be winning the battle. Whether the law ultimately emerges the winner remains to be seen.
K Ragavan, Bengaluru
A big thumbs up for the ride of your life with new service
With reference to your story about Uber (November 20), will the new drivers have luxury supercars like Bentleys and Jaguars? That would be lovely. It is really nice to hear this.
Tanya Milbourne, Dubai