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How can Energy Companies achieve Diversity & Inclusion for Women?

After being fortunate enough to attend the Solar and Storage Live Conference at the NEC, we wanted to share our insights into a particular highlight of the day: the Diversity and Inclusion talk.

This thought-provoking discussion spoke about women working within the Energy Sector and the shortfalls that may be present. 

Hosted by Georgina Worrall, a Project Manager for PowerfulWomen, joined by the Head of Advisory in Europe for Natural Power, Hannah Staab, this conference highlighted and discussed some areas we feel are important to discuss within MDE Group UK. The panel also provided first hand nuggets of advice for those women wanting to break through the glass ceiling. 

Hannah Staab, recognised in the Top 40 Women Leaders in the Energy Storage List, discussed the relative equality between men and women and the start of one’s career in this industry. The skills and overall ability to complete the lower-level jobs are, across the board, equal. The issue presents itself when wanting to climb the ladder, as the issues faced by women are far greater to that of their male counterparts. 

Without trying to sound cynical, Hannah spoke on what many of us in the room feel daily: frustrated. 

An example of this would be when conducting interviews. A candidate would enter the room and ask you either: “what you are doing here?”, or “who will be interviewing me?" The initial distain and idea that it might be possible for a woman to conduct an interview is the exact kind of behaviour that needs to be discussed and aired as discrimination.

Why is the Energy Industry notoriously bad for D&I? 

It is no real shock that 78% of major energy companies have no women executives on their board

The answer to this can be found in the fact, if you look closely, many of these companies promote diversity as one of their key business objectives. Pair that with internal women only networks, encouraging discussions over statistics, and seeing nearly all men at the top of organisations vowing to improve the balance, why are the figures not budging? 

Women’s Utility Network have been working hard to understand this disparity and the reasons behind it. The Network was created to encourage women in the Energy and Water sectors to spark conversations, attract women into the industries and most importantly, to retain them. Made up of the future of the industry, this organisation has highlighted a number of key, recurring themes that can be seen throughout: 

  • Resilience and staying in power
  • Imposter syndrome 
  • Childbearing responsibilities
  • Untapped Talent 

What are the stats? 


Why are the Stats Important? 

Reports from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) examined the question of gender equality through the sector. By implementing a ground-breaking survey of employees, companies, and institutions, it found that much remains to be done to boost women’s participation and allow their talents to be fully utilised. In other words, “you can’t be it, if you can’t see it.” 

There is much to be done across the board in this industry. The statistics are important to understand just how unequal the workplace really is. Being a ‘token woman’ is exhausting, being the only woman in the room automatically perks ears, whether positively or negatively, and regardless of intention, one stands out. If this shifted to an equal distribution of men and women, the behaviours wouldn’t stand out, meaning more women would remain in the industry, therefore attracting more women too.  

What else is there to consider? 

After attending a conference hosted by Georgina Worrall from PowerfulWomen, it highlighted several barriers presented to women in the industry. Hannah Saab, the Head of Advisory for Europe at Natural Power, admitted when asked what the best piece of advice she would give to young, career driven women wanting to make an impact in a male dominated industry, that “you should find somebody in your company who is your sponsor.” Suggesting building a strong trusting relationship with a senior member in your company, who believes in you and puts you forward for promotions, 

What are the goals for the future to hit these targets? 

One of the most important aspects in driving change, as Georgina so rightly highlighted, is the connections and support between women. Staying in touch with colleagues, new and old, sparking those tough conversations and checking in with one another. With the view of reaching 40% Women in board seats by 2030, it is paramount that women support women to provide a sound board and encourage conversation. Hearing stories, sharing experiences and building personal networks are vital for developing confidence and creating greater opportunities that ultimately see more women in positions of power. 


The change needed to hit these targets must come from every level. It should start from the bottom and work its way up, but it should also start from the top and filter down. At a time when the energy sector is focusing on delivering green energy and NetZero targets, it is critical that diversity is not overlooked. In fact, it is somewhat impossible to reach these targets without equality; it is not merely a 'women's issue' its a performance issue. Encouraging your company to set targets and make a pledge is a good place to start.

Bronte- Specialist Solar Engineering Recruitment Consultant
Bronte- Specialist Solar Engineering Recruitment Consultant
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