Women work in the drilling industry — but nine times out of 10, you won’t see them doing field work. We tend to overlook half the population when recruiting for entry-level field-services roles, and that is something we can’t afford to do when the labor market is this tight (and we shouldn’t do even when it’s not). So where do we start? 

Address Unconscious Bias

The first challenge is identifying and overcoming internal stereotypes and unconscious biases that may exist. When made aware of such biases, it’s possible to prevent them from interfering with our recruiting and hiring decisions. Training programs can help find and address some of those blind spots. After all, work boils down to applying knowledge and accomplishing tasks, and competency — not gender — is what matters.

Consider Company Culture

The second step is to ensure our culture and work environment is conducive to female employees. This involves evaluating the current organizational culture, offered benefits, career tracks and more — then identifying areas for improvement. While this process involves some heavy data gathering and tracking, the end result can be game changing. We cannot target female employees for recruitment and generate interest in our companies if we don’t first seek to understand the differences in what men and women may value at work.

Target Related Fields

The third step is to target women who have already shown interest in labor-intensive fields. If you have begun recruiting out of trade and vocational schools, you already have an in. Be sure to speak to female students who attend your lectures or demos, as women are statistically less likely to speak up in class — but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in the career path you’re offering.

With the long hours, labor-intensive work and frequent travel, a career in drilling can be a hard one regardless of gender. However, as we begin to see more women launching careers in the environmental drilling industry, I imagine we’ll also see an upward trend of women interested in and considering their own career in drilling. Let’s lay the groundwork to ensure it’s an attractive option for men and women alike.