Energy Sector Courts Unexpected Workers

women in energyFor the energy sector, the baby boomer bubble is about to burst as aging workers begin to retire.

What’s surprising is that women—a group highly underrepresented in the oil and gas industry—are moving in to fill these vacant jobs.

In the first quarter of 2013, women took nearly half of new jobs in the oil sector, an industry that is more than 80% male. It may be too soon to call it a trend, CNN Money reports, but there has never been a year when women made up a third of new hires in these fields since 1991, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tracking these numbers.

Energy jobs

Paul Caplan, president of Rigzone, an industry research, and news service, told CNN Money that although women are working some of the most physical jobs on the rigs, about half of them occupy “brainy” jobs, like technicians, geologists, and petroleum engineers.

It is certainly in oil companies’ interest to attract young female hires; the industry is facing a particularly intense labor shortage. This is due to low oil prices during the 80s and 90s that led to a lack of hiring. It created what those in the industry call “the great crew change”—where those in their 20s are being managed by those in the 50s and 60s, and the older set begins to retire.

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