Why Aren’t There More Women in Industrial?

At Charlton Morris, we work with companies across the Medical, Life Science and Industrial markets and there’s work to be done to achieve gender parity and equal representation in all of them. But the problem is most striking in the Industrial markets we work in, which is the division I head up here.

Industrial is a wide-ranging term and our division here covers lots of different markets but this problem persists in virtually every sector we cover.

Throughout my career in executive search my focus has always been on the Oil & Gas sector. So starting here, it’s estimated that just 15% of the oil and gas workforce is female. This halves again when it reaches the level of more senior technical roles, equating to less than 1 in 10 professionals at this level being women.

We also have a team dedicated to mining which, in a 2013 report, was declared as having the lowest number of women on company boards of any industry group worldwide. It’s also unlikely that our logistics team will deal with any female-fronted companies as just 1 in 10 CEOs in that sector are female.

Even the sectors that are making progress are still a long way from 50/50 representation. Take chemicals, where last year the number of women at board level of major companies reached a record high, of just 18.6%.

Even these statistics don’t represent the full extent of the problem.

Because these statistics mostly apply to senior leadership where it’s relatively easy to increase gender parity. At the executive level, it’s easier to hire one CEO, for instance, than it is to embark upon the task of achieving a 50/50 split in entry level positions.

So do we need to go back further to make changes? In encouraging more young women to study STEM subjects in school; teaching with examples of leading female engineers and scientists as opposed to a male-dominated view.

So how do we change this?

Well, at Charlton Morris we always try to speak from a position of authority and, whilst we do specialise in our sectors, we don’t have the 15,20 or 25 years experience that a C-suite executive does in one of our markets. You may have also noticed that I’m not a woman.

So, this International Women’s Day, instead of us trying to unpick the problem, we’re launching our #womeninindustrial series and asking people that do have that authority to tell us what they think.

Over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be publishing a number of articles where our consultants are speaking with leading women in their industries about the important issues, topics and barriers to entry for women in heavy industrial markets. We don’t think we’ll be able to solve the problem of equal gender representation in our sectors, but we’re hoping to at least start some important conversations.

If you’d like to be involved, or know someone who could be interested in speaking to us, then please reach out to me at or one of my team. We’d love to be able to incorporate a diverse range of female voices into the content we create.

To finish, I’d like to wish all of my connections a fantastic International Women’s Day and say to watch this space and follow Charlton Morris to see the content we’ll be putting out on this topic in the coming weeks.

From the archive

To take your recruitment to the next level, simply talk to our specialists today