As part of our Women's Energy Council, we are conducting interviews with our members to find out what their experiences are of working in the energy sector.
We sat down with Nicola Adams, Exploration Manager Asia Pacific New Ventures & India, BP. Here are her thoughts
What drew you to a career in the traditionally male-dominated energy sector?
I have loved science and engineering from a very young age, keen to understand how the world around us works and inspired by stories of exploration and adventure – it simply never occurred to me that girls didn't ‘do' STEM. I stumbled on geoscience at university, fell in love with it and from there the energy industry and BP – now I'm lucky to be able to describe myself as a 21st Century Explorer! BP graduate intake reflects the broad diversity of the communities from which it recruits, and currently stands at 49% female, so the male-dominated stereotype is changing fast.
What obstacle/s have you had to overcome in your career as a woman in the energy sector?
By the time I joined the industry in 2000, attitudes to diversity were changing fast and a meritocratic culture being brought in which I and others have benefited from. That's not to say things were perfect – getting a bed space on a wellsite as the only woman in those days was tough, and while the BP culture is incredibly supportive, some societal cultures can still be challenging for female leaders to gain respect in. Most recently, returning from maternity leave and balancing my roles as a parent and a leader has been a new challenge.
What do you think can be done to make it easier for more women to enter & succeed in the energy sector at all levels?
Our data shows that we are doing pretty well at recruiting young women, but the energy sector has not historically done as well at enabling them to progress into senior leadership roles. At BP I'm proud that we are focused on creating an environment in which female talent can thrive through, for example, future leader development programs, sponsorship and raised awareness of unconscious bias.
If you could give one piece of advice to young women who are considering working in the energy industry, what would it be?
The energy industry has always offered an unrivalled set of opportunities – career-long learning, experience of the wider world and the chance to fundamentally improve the quality of people's everyday lives. As we address the dual challenges of meeting the world's growing needs while also meeting our climate goals, that continues to be as true as it has ever been.
About Women's Energy Council
Women’s Energy Council is the most international diversity and equality network for energy executives in the world. It actively promotes and advises on tangible, positive and commercially beneficial changes in the energy industry through bias awareness, policy education and safety at work.
Download the brochure to find out how you or your company can get involved with the Women's Energy Council.