On the final day of the Egypt Petroleum Show (EGYPS 2023), the event included an Equality in Energy conference, which featured a number of engaging sessions and panels across the day. As the industry walks through its decarbonization journey, the oil and gas existing and future employees remain committed to achieving net-zero ambitions. Therefore, it becomes important to develop the skills of existing employees and to expand the recruitment programs to attract millennial and generation Z graduates, as the industry creates transparent recruitment practices offering its workforce clear career progression, flexibility, and pay transparency.
The conference started with Petra Angstmann, Senior Vice President of Global HR at Wintershall Dea, delivering a speech in which she talked about what the workplace will look like in the future. Amgstmann explained the importance of equal pay. “We pay our employees equally, regardless of gender,” she stated, adding that this helps a company gain employees’ loyalty and at the same time show stakeholders their commitment to equality.
Building a Net-Zero Ready Workforce
In the first panel, Moath Al Rawi, ARGAS’ CEO; and Gaydaa Elfakahany, Head of HR and Administration Division at thyssnekrupp Industrial Solutions Egypt, talked about the ways to prepare employees for a net-zero future. Al Rawi talked about the challenges facing the workforce and their reaction to the energy transition. Al Rawi highlighted reaching a net-zero future “to get to that point, we will need qualified people who would be able to develop.”
Meanwhile, Elfakahany talked about the skills needed for the transition and ways to retain talent and skills amid the surrounding competition. Elfakahany highlighted the privilege of having young people in Egypt, who can drive the transition. “For Egypt of course there is the opportunity of youth, because 60% of the population is of young age, and that is a big opportunity,” she said pointing out that this is a challenge as well. “This young generation actually needs a specific kind of education to support their upskill for the future and for employment. Vocational learning as well as experiential learning is also something that needs to develop a lot.”
Harnessing the Power of Change Management for an Agile Culture
The second panel provided a discussion platform for Brandy Jones, Vice President HR at Apache; Latifa Aal Said, Global DEI Director & TPS HR Director MENATI at Baker Hughes; Edgar da Costa, Director of Finance, Procurement, and Information & Communication Technology at ANPM; Sherif Aboelgheit, General Manager, Procurements and Supervising HR Division at ENPPI; Celestina Raggi, Vice President of HR for Middle East & Africa at Emerson; and Ahmed Farid, Regional HR Manager at Shell.
The session talked about motivating people to join the industry. Moreover, the distinguished panelists highlighted the role of the leader to make the change more successful, assessing the culture, skills, and needs of the workforce to achieve the industry’s goals.
Attracting Millennials and Generation Z
This panel featured ways to attract millennials and Gen Z to the energy industry, highlighting their needs for a purpose as well as a flexible work environment. The panelists included Manal Messiha, Vice President of Customer Satisfaction & Quality at Schneider Electric; Aldo Costantini, General Manager & Managing Director at Energean AQP; Abubakr Ibrahim, Vice President & General Manager at IPR Energy; Salma Al Hajeri, Regional Vice President, East-Med & North Africa, Operations MENA & Russia at Mubadala Energy; and Soukaïna Chefchaouni, Legal Counsel for North Africa, ENGIE.
Chefchaouni, who represented the voice of the youth, talked about their expectations and the challenges they face in the workplace. The panel also featured the importance of inclusion, as having different generations is significant for the development of the energy industry.
Another presentation titled “The digital future: closing the skills gap” was presented by Fatema Choudhury, Chief Operating Officer of Magellan X. Fatema discussed how to equip the energy sector’s workforce with the digital skills necessary to succeed in the 21st century. “Digital literacy becomes increasingly vital in the ESG space because more companies are recognizing that they have to integrate technology in their operations to make it more efficient, transparent and sustainable, in addition, it helps organizations understand their data and measure their ESG performance,” said Fatema.
A presentation by Juliette Murray Lamotte, Middle East and North Africa Human Resources Manager at SLB, was titled “Managing the Unconscious Bias in Pay and Promotion” to explore the steps that businesses and individuals can take to ensure unconscious bias is properly addressed. “At SLB, we put people first because people are the spirit and pulse behind everything we do and everything we want to achieve” she explains.
Susanne Mikhail Eldhagen Regional Director UN Women Office for the Arab States discussed “Creating an Equitable, Diverse and Inclusive Culture for a Greener Future.” Susanne discussed the MENA region paradox, which is one between educational attainment and employment, explaining “this is a region with a very high educated cadre of women but at the same time a very low labor force participation.” According to Susanne, this gap causes not only financial losses but also human development losses overall. The proportion of female graduates from STEM in the MENA region is higher than any other region worldwide, therefore there will be a loss of opportunity unless we pull these educated women into the industry.
Gender equality and the role of women in the clean energy transition
The final panel of the EGYPS 2023 Equality in Energy Conference was entitled Gender equality and the role of women in the clean energy transition. The panel discussed the importance of equality and women empowerment in promoting a successful transition to clean energy and achieving the United Nation’s SDGs.
The panelists included Eleanor Rowley, Managing Director Egypt at Capricorn Energy, Amru Alabidi, Senior Vice President Oman, UAE, Iraq and North Africa at Worley, Lamé Verre, Co-founder & Board Co-chair of Lean-in Equity & Sustainability and Marla Wright Global Business Development Manager at Bechtel.
Lamé starts the discussion by addressing what the workforce of the future looks like for the sector in terms of gender equality, “the workforce of the future is not just a gender question but a talent issue, so it’s really about what is the energy industry’s value proposition to the market.”
Amru discussed his journey through the energy industry and emphasized that it’s all about people, beliefs and emotions rather than KPIs and profit. “As a leadership team our responsibility is not to direct and tell people what to do, but rather creating the right environment for individuals to feel comfortable and excited to share their point of view.”
Eleanor talked about the opportunities and challenges that women and managing directors face in the region. “I find women at all levels of the organization in Egypt, from entry levels to directors. I am not the only female managing director in the energy industry in Egypt, there are three of us” she said.
Celebrating Diversity: Equality in Energy Awards
The equality in Energy Conference was concluded by the Equality in Energy Awards Ceremony. The awards were divided into three categories, celebrating outstanding talents in the industry.
The first category of the awards was the Women in Leadership, which recognizes exceptional women leaders in the energy industry with proven leadership and project management skills for their growth and success personally and professionally. The winner was Shahira Osman, Regional Branded Workshops Channel Manager, Chevron. The winner of the highly commended award was Omnia Bekheit, Investment and Financial Planning General Manager ANOPC.
The Award for STEM Star of the Year was awarded to Marwa Maghraby Process Engineer at ENPPI. Meanwhile, Mariam Shreif, Imperial College student, was named as the highly commended finalist. This award category recognizes high potential female students from across the world who are currently pursuing a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) with an active interest to pursue a career in the energy sector.
The final category of awards was the Nex-Gen Female of the Year, which was awarded to Lamees Sultan, Offshore Site Engineer at bp. The highly commended award for this category was awarded to Maureen Amir, Completions Engineer at bp. This award category recognizes high performing individuals from the global energy industry with demonstrated potential for being a future leader within the business