The energy sector has a pay equity problem

It is common knowledge that women in general do not earn the same amount as their male counterparts.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, “women, on average, earn less than men in nearly every single occupation for which there is sufficient earnings data for both men and women.” This gender wage gap is especially glaring in the energy sector.

If you’re from the Houston area, you know how big the energy industry is here. However, you may not know the data about just how male-dominated the field is, and how little women are paid in comparison to men.

According to Catalyst, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making workplaces better for women, in 2018 women accounted for only 19.1% of the oil and gas extraction workforce in the United States.

Before talking about the wage gap, it is important to understand the difference between the controlled and uncontrolled pay gap. The uncontrolled pay gap is the disparity in wages between men & women without considering education and experience. The controlled pay gap is the difference in pay for men and women with the same education and experience.

Payscale’s The State of The Pay Gap 2019 report found that the controlled pay gap in the energy and utilities field is $0.97. This means that women with the exact same qualifications as men make 97 cents for each dollar a man doing the same job makes. The energy industry has the second largest pay gap overall, behind transportation and warehousing.

The percentage of women occupying high-level roles in energy is even lower. Women only account for 21% of the C-suite and merely 7% of CEOs. At this level, the pay gap is especially disparate—women make over one third less than male counterparts.

Despite the pay gap, jobs in energy are generally high-paying—easily in the six-figures. Women who feel up to it are encouraged to break into this industry and start to make a difference. Like the old saying goes, there is power in numbers.

Women deserve to be paid fairly for their skills and experience, not treated as second-rate. If by you are a woman already working in the energy industry and are facing pay discrimination, an attorney can help you seek justice.

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