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 Nicola Jamieson, a buyer working in the UK (North Sea) who has worked within the industry for over 9 years.

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

I’ve been in the industry for 9 years now since being a student, during which time I’ve experienced industry highs such as supplier networking events and team building exercises, to personal lows during the industry downturn when I found myself redundant more than once. However my technical skillset means I have always found work very quickly despite the challenging nature of the industry.

2. What’s been your biggest challenge?

The biggest test for me has been finding a role that stimulates me; I love to be busy and challenged. Being a Buyer is a rewarding career regardless of gender but my advice to women would be to gain experience in various disciplines to keep keeps things interesting and enhance your CV against the competition.

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

Whilst I have seen more women achieving managerial roles, I’ve found progression opportunities to be quite limited due to the fact that many long serving members of staff hold the topmost positions, and historically the industry has been a popular career choice with more men than women.

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

I would like to see more opportunity for career progression and for employers to better embrace the developing workforce, enabling women especially to undertake new senior challenges. 

5. How have you found support from NES?

NES Global Talent have been super, I’ve not had any issues with them – they are really friendly and easy to deal with. Lee touches base with me every so often to say hello and just see how I’m getting on. I like the personal touch.

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 Brenda MulrooneyNatasche 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.