According to a recent study by the Petroleum Equipment and Services Association (PESA), it is estimated that 15% of people employed in the oil and gas industry are female, with only 8% occupying technical engineering roles.  Historically the oily and gas industry has struggled to attract and retain female talent but this is something companies are striving to change. 

NES is committed to building upon diversity in the industries we work within and to do so, we’re exploring women’s experience in engineering. We spoke to Bredna Mulrooney who is a HDD Business Development Engineer / Drilling Engineer for the oil and gas industry, based in Canada.

1. How has the oil and has industry changed over the years?

Mostly in the areas of Health and Safety but definitely changed towards the acceptance of women in the industry. When I graduated from Memorial University of Newfoundland in 2003, we had under 20 female graduates out of about 250. Now the graduation rate is approximately half male and half female. More graduates means more female employees to hire. The more females you have on your team, the more the industry adapts to seeing and accepting it.

2. What’s been your biggest challenge?

Proving to the industry that I may not be as physically strong as my male counterpart, but I’m just as smart! Having children in this industry is also very demanding, especially in the world of drilling engineering where you are expected to answer your phone 24/7. With children at home, you really need to find a work-life balance and that can be very challenging at times.

3. Would you recommend your career choice to other women?

Yes, I would recommend it. When you learn the industry lingo, acronyms and spend time in the field understanding the operational side of things, you find great pride in this career and you earn respect by doing so. It is a very specialized line of work. I would caution that being a drilling engineer is not your typical 8:00 – 5:00pm job. I always enjoyed being involved throughout the entire operation - weekdays, evening and weekends - but it’s certainly not for everyone.

4. What can companies do to improve oil and gas opportunities for women?

Continue to interview women and hire them, giving them an equal opportunity as men. Most women can provide a very different dynamic to your office and field environment. Diversity in the workplace is essential and I’m happy to say I believe most of this industry is heading in the right direction.

5. How have you found support from NES?

So far NES have been nothing but excellent to me. The onboarding was seamless and the ongoing support I’ve received has been great. I would definitely recommend NES to others in my field.

NES and Diversity 

With over 60 offices around the globe, NES has a diverse workforce and we recognise, respect and value the diverse nature of the wider society in which we operate. We are proud to partner with APSCO’s “Women in recruitment” action group and have committed to their Gender Equality Charter; we are a member of Pink Petro - an organisation dedicated to connecting and advancing women in Energy and last year we conducted a survey in partnership with Energy Jobline that asked over 1000 female engineers how they feel about working in the industry.

We are committed to increasing job opportunities for women and helping client to meet their diversity goals. If you're an employer looking for assistance with your staffing requirements, please contact us

Looking for our previous editions? Read our interviews with Nicola JamiesonNatasche CronjeLexi Meeke, and Rose Button

The spread of COVID-19 is affecting all of us. But as a global staffing company, NES would like to reassure our customers that we are fully operational across all our locations and are working closely with clients to ensure essential projects stay on track at this difficult time. For regular updates, please see our COVID-19 Support Hub.