Diversity & Inclusivity: Opinion Piece by Dave Bodecott
FROM THE MEMBERS
Article by Dave Bodecott, Consultant
The industry described by Jane Whaley, perceived by some as “male, pale and stale” contradicts my long experience and perception. My first day at work was sharing an office with a Ph.D. lady much smarter than myself. In my long career I have seen nothing but equality, and blindness to different backgrounds, sex or origins – our society and our industry have an exemplary record in being meritocratic and it is disingenuous to suggest otherwise. My latest very successful company had a mix better than you would find anywhere, no legislation or special pleading needed for that. No doubt however, there are some exceptions, I can think of some industry men and some women who I have found in my working life to be distinctly prejudiced and unprofessional. However, the rest of us are fully signed up to a fair, egalitarian outlook and it has always been thus.
Talent from any source or background will rise to the top in our industry, in fact the oil business is light years ahead in that area compared to many other industries. By our nature, we are all adventurers, explorers, scientists, unconventional visionaries, lateral thinkers, sceptics, hands-on, nose-in-the-dirt practical types, otherwise we would not have found so much oil and gas over the years. We certainly do not need right now a crisis of confidence, especially after so many economically difficult trading years.
There have been notable characters, even PESGB Presidents or leaders of multi-nationals over the years who have been gay, different in many guises, totally unconventional, and some talented explorers in our society who were wheelchair-bound. They have all risen to the top with talent, no special measures were required to make this happen. These relaxed protocols happened forty years before minority groups started worrying about rights or reasons to be unhappy and who to blame.
Strong and good leadership I agree is crucial, leadership that is blind to sex, creed or background, and the intelligent members of our industry practise just that I believe. Our industry will not be revitalised until the eco-fascists get off our backs and start to talk sense about our contribution to greater society. Recent cold weather electricity generation would stop our country dead if it were not for gas and other fossil fuels, including diesel generators world-wide.
The oil business is a very big soft target because it has generally been successful, rich, global, international and profitable. By nature it is diverse. It is a fantastic business and one that has a great reputation for inclusivity and diversity, not “someone else’s business”, and anyone who thinks otherwise is living in a bubble. If there is a low take-up, we must accept the possibility of other reasons instead of blaming the business itself. I would happily hire someone without a degree if they had the right attitude. The rulebook can be interpreted very liberally.
To those who went to the Petex diversity meeting – Go for it! You may have a better chance of success than the rest of us? But stay positive, if it was easy everyone would do it. We don’t need to celebrate victimhood, which is certainly not part of our explorers culture, and as a colleague said to me yesterday, “Just get on with the job”.
Please note that opinions expressed are those of the individual member and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the PESGB or any other affiliated companies