January 7, 2019
The role of women in the workplace was explored recently at an event where Susan Dio, Chairman and CEO of BP America, and other speakers discussed the challenges women face, the gains that have been made, and the work that is still needed.
“I am really proud that BP takes the diversity agenda so seriously,” Dio said in her keynote speech. “More diverse organizations run better businesses, and they have stronger leadership.”
The event, held at Helios Plaza and sponsored by BP WIN, also featured the presentation of a study, by McKinsey and Company, that looked at the state of women in corporate America.
BP and Diversity
Dio said BP has set goals for diversity, but that more should be done to make the oil and gas industry comparable to the health care field, which has the highest percentage of women in leadership roles.
The McKinsey study showed that women hold 35 percent of all c-suite jobs, compared with only 16 percent of c-suite jobs in the energy industry.
“There is work to do in the oil and gas industry. I am optimistic that at BP we are heading in the right direction,” she said.
Dio said that a diverse workforce provides leadership with multiple solutions and perspectives, and she cited her own family as an example.
“Over the years it has become clear that I see some things differently than my boys do,” she said. “Really diverse teams bring together all those diverse viewpoints to come to the best answer, and that brings us value.”
The McKinsey Study
The key findings of the study were presented by Kassia Yanosek, a partner at McKinsey and Associates.
Highlights of the report were:
- Women make up about 52 percent of the U.S. population but only hold 20 percent of top corporate jobs.
- Nearly 50 percent of men think women are well represented in leadership in companies where only one in ten senior leaders is a woman. A much smaller but still significant number of women agree: a third think women are well represented when they see one in ten in leadership in their company.
- On average, women are promoted at a lower rate than men.
However, Yanosek said there was some cause for optimism.
“Top performing companies are promoting women and men to manager at almost the same rate. This suggests that these companies are on a path to improving their representation of senior-level women,” she said.
Cindy Yeilding, senior vice president of BP America, chaired a panel of BP leaders including Jane Stricker, Mark Crawford and Joaquin Oliveira, who shared reflections on the McKinsey findings.
“Today is about finishing the year with progress, reflecting on where we are, busting some myths and changing our perceptions of women advancing in the work place and deciding what we can do about it,” she said.
Yeilding said one finding of the McKinsey study that struck her was the stagnation of women as they move up the corporate ladder.
“We need to bring attention to that stagnation, make genuine efforts to change it and make the corporate suite more reflective of our community,” she said.