Sprunt, Eve (author of A Guide for Dual Career Couples) | Ali, Hendratta (Fort Hays State University) | Capello, Maria Angela (Kuwait Oil Company) | Whitesell, Laurie (Oklahoma State University) | Prasad, Manika (Colorado School of Mines)
Two surveys were distributed to faculty and student members of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists in 2016 by the SEG Women’s Network Committee (WNC). The surveys focused on assessing issues that women have raised about the academic environment. Student responses reveal that Geosciences department leadership (head/chairs) are critical to recruitment and retention of female and possibly other underrepresented groups. Despite positive actions including anti-harassment and parental-leave policies, the faculty responses indicate that gender-bias gaps still exist. One critical gap is that young female faculty are more likely than their male colleagues to be in non-tenuretrack roles. Also, female academics are more likely to report age discrimination and uncomfortable social interactions with peers of the opposite sex.
Presentation Date: Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Start Time: 1:50:00 PM
Location: 204C (Anaheim Convention Center)
Presentation Type: Oral
Question: What do you think was the major industry focus area over the last decade in terms of oil and gas resources: conventional, deepwater, heavy oil, shale? Could it shift in the next decade? LR: I think the answer depends on the energy needs of the nations involved and the resources available to them. For instance, Brazil has developed impressive technology and capabilities in the last decade for deepwater resources extraction. The US has been successful with unconventionals (shales, tight hydrocarbons, etc.). I think the industry will continue to develop new technology and the next shift in focus will be towards developing resources that will become available due to implementing that new technology.
Talent & Technology
You have invested a lot of time and money training new employees. Once employees are fully qualified, how do you retain them? The SPE Talent Council survey on factors affecting employee attraction and retention provides valuable insights. Documented in paper SPE 168112, the survey received responses from 1,737 people, and the results indicated that for those surveyed there are many important ways in which younger employees differ from older ones and that key retention factors differ with age.
Survey respondents were asked to rate 31 factors for staying with an employer and 31 factors for leaving an employer on a 6-choice scale that ranged from “most important” to “not at all important” and “not applicable.” Only people who reported having more than one employer were asked questions about leaving. Most of the survey respondents had worked for multiple employers (Fig. 1). Once people have experience switching employers, it may take less provocation or less enticement to persuade them to make another change.
For survey respondents, “golden handcuffs” were not very effective. “To qualify for a future benefit such as a pension or retiree medical coverage” ranked 15th out of 31 factors for staying for men over the age of 40, 22nd for women over age 40, and 26th for men and women under age 40.
Opportunity’s Siren Call
Opportunity was clearly the number one driver, but the results indicated the intensity of that driving force varies with age and gender. When people were asked to rate factors for leaving an employer, 53% of women and 49% of men under the age of 40 identified “insufficient opportunity, challenge, career potential” as “most important,” in comparison with 35% of women and 29% of men over the age of 40. When the question was worded “Why do you stay with an employer?” 53% of both men and women under age 40 identified “opportunity, challenge, career potential” as “most important,” in comparison with 39% of women and 32% of men over age 40.
Opportunity, while clearly of paramount importance, was only part of the answer. The top factor captures 7% to 8% of the “most important” responses for why survey respondents stayed, and 10% to 12% for why they left (Fig. 2). Capture of 50% of the “most important” responses for why survey respondents leave requires seven to eight factors. Capture of 80% of the “most important” responses for why people leave takes 15 to 16 factors. The results of this survey indicated that for companies to have attrition rates below 20% requires attention to many factors.
This paper reports the results of a survey of the SPE membership performed for SPE's Talent Council from January to July, 2013. It has been included in OnePetro for accessibility.
The SPE Talent Council's survey on factors impacting retention received responses from 1737 people. The link to the survey was primarily distributed through social media and kept open from late January to early July 2013. Participants were asked about 31 reasons for leaving and 31 reasons for staying with an employer. "Opportunity?? was the "most important?? reason that people stayed with an employer and "lack of opportunity?? was the "most important?? reason for leaving. However, "opportunity??, while still the biggest driver, was diminished in relative importance for both women and men over the age of 40.
Although "opportunity?? clearly gathered the largest number of "most important?? responses, "opportunity?? only accounts for 10 to 12% of the "most important?? responses for leaving and 7 to 8% of the responses for staying. To capture 50% of the "most important?? responses as to why people left, 7 to 8 factors were needed, and to get to 80%, 15 to about 16 factors were needed. Similarly, with regard to staying, 9 to 11 factors were needed to capture 50% and 17 to 20 to capture 80%. When all women are compared with all men, the two groups agree on the same top five reasons for leaving and share nine of the top ten reasons for staying. However, when we split both genders by age into over and under the age of 40, more differences emerge.
A much higher percentage of women than men cite "conflict with supervisor,?? "conflict with co-workers,?? and "unsatisfactory working conditions?? as reasons for leaving. Women also are far more likely than men to leave to follow a relocated partner and to cite work-life balance issues including "inflexible work schedules??, "too much time away from family??, and "pressure not to use work/life benefits?? as "most important?? reasons for leaving.
Women indicate "respect?? much more often than men when it comes to picking "most important?? factors for staying with an employer. For women under age 40, "flexible work schedules?? are about as strong as "respect?? in enhancing retention.
In their responses to the survey, men consistently place a greater emphasis than women on "pay??. This may be a reason why throughout their careers men tend to earn more than women. Women place a higher importance on other factors. Women are believed to be less likely than men to negotiate pay. The survey results showing the lower priority that women place on money suggests that as a group, women may be less motivated than men to negotiate about money than about other factors of higher priority to them.
A survey of SPE's membership conducted in May 2011 by the SPE Talent Council showed that dualcareer couples comprise about half the petroleum engineering workforce (Sprunt and Howes 2011a, b). In many of those couples, each partner contributes between 40% and 60% of the household income. Situations that jeopardize the employment of one partner are a major fi nancial consideration. Two significant challenges for dual-career couples are relocation and childrearing. To better understand the challenges facing dual-career couples, in December 2011, the SPE Talent Council surveyed SPE members under age 45.
Eve Sprunt, Susan Howes, and Maria Angela Capello A recent SPE Talent Council survey of SPE members under the age of 45 unveiled an important generation gap. Most SPE members under the age of 45 are part of a dual career couple and most of them believe that the careers of both partners are equally important. However, managers who rose through the ranks as part of a couple with a single dominant breadwinner consider the concept of equally important careers to be unrealistic. We believe that management needs a better understanding of how the evolution of domestic relationships has changed the constraints and motivations of the workforce. More women worldwide are working for compensation that has reached greater parity with compensation for men in the past few decades.
One of the growing workforce issues facing companies is managing employeeswho are part of a dual career couple. Traditionally, corporatepolicies were based on the assumption that even if the spouse worked, theirincome was a relatively small fraction of the total household income. Thespouse was assumed to be available to handle numerous household issues, so theemployee could focus nearly exclusively on their work. Much of theworkforce is now juggling more complex personal logistics, because both spousesare employed outside of the home.
One of the objectives of the SPE Talent Council is data collection andanalysis by conducting surveys and statistical analysis to highlight potentialcapability/expertise gaps, and identify possible solutions. In May, 2011to capture information on the prevalence of dual career couples and thechallenges facing them, SPE emailed a link to a survey to 46,777 members whosedues were paid for the current year. The link was not sent to studentmembers. The results of this survey show that dual career couplesare about half the workforce. Dual career couples will probably become aneven larger fraction in the near future, because those in dual career couplerelationships are younger than those who are not.
Validity of the Survey Results
For SPE member surveys a typically "good" response rate is 10%. Forthe dual career couple survey, 5570 members replied for a response rate of12%. Of those responding, 13% did not state gender, 14% were women,and 73% were men. The age distribution of those responding to the survey issimilar to that of the overall membership (Figure 1). SPE does not havegender information for members so a comparison of the response rate by genderwas not possible.
HR Discussion - Former SPE President Eve Sprunt discusses generalist vs. specialist career paths.