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What steps should the energy and electricity sector prioritize to drive change swiftly, enhance diversity, and cultivate improved gender representation in boardrooms?

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Today’s energy and electricity landscape is rapidly evolving. Fostering diversity and gender representation in boardrooms is not just a moral imperative but a strategic necessity. As the sector grapples with complex challenges ranging from sustainability goals to technological advancements, it’s imperative to prioritize actions that drive swift change and cultivate inclusive leadership. By implementing targeted strategies and initiatives, the energy and electricity sector can harness the full spectrum of talent, perspectives, and expertise. This then paving the way for innovation, resilience, and sustainable growth.

We spoke to industry experts and leaders Anthea Middleton, CEO of Powering Skills Organisation, and Heidi Lee, CEO of Beyond Zero Emissions. They  provide their insights on diversity within utilities and next steps to better promote inclusivity and gender equity.

Anthea Middleton Quote

To deliver on Net Zero 2030 promises, Jobs and Skills Australia’s Clean Energy Generation Report sites we need to find 32,000 more electricians within six years. While these can come from any area, we know that only 3% of the sector are currently women. So the challenge is to encourage more women into the renewable energy sector. How do we do this? We start to look at the barriers stopping women from choosing this career.

The analogy ‘you can’t be what you can’t see’ rings true here. With few role models of women in leadership in the sector, or employees to point out what needs to change. We need to make changes now to see them reflected in the industry later. But we don’t have to wait for women apprentices to move up the ranks and into boardrooms to start the change. There are small changes that can help.

We know that very few wind farms have toilets at the bottom. And women engineers who climb to the top of turbines have to get down from the top and travel several kilometres into the nearest town to use the loo – so let’s just install toilets!

We know that previously, training packages have been drafted for a male audience. Even calling case studies she/her instead of he/him can help to change perceptions of who an ideal energy worker is.

Change isn’t about what’s happening in the board room – but what is happening on the work site every day. There hasn’t ever been a better time to start delivering on it. Our tomorrow depends on it.

Heidi Lee Quote

To drive change swiftly in the energy and electricity sector, several key steps should be prioritised. Firstly, companies must commit to fostering an inclusive culture and set measurable diversity goals at all levels of the organisation. Secondly, implementing diverse recruitment and promotion practices, including targeted outreach and bias-free hiring processes, is essential to attract and retain diverse talent.

Lastly, providing mentorship, leadership development programs, and support networks specifically tailored to women and underrepresented groups. This can help cultivate a pipeline of diverse candidates for leadership and boardroom positions.

These efforts will not only bring about more equitable representation. But also enrich decision-making processes and drive speed and innovation in the energy transition.

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You can also hear from Anthea and Heidi at our exhibition and summit this 7 – 8 May!

 

Our FLASH SALE is now on for a limited time only – use code SUMMIT25 to save $250 on your ticket and book your delegate pass. Hear from this month’s contributors and 100+ utilities experts – don’t miss out. 

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