Last month’s Regions and Sections EXPLORER column featured AAPG’s new Workforce Retention Survey, generated through the Professional Women in
Earth Science Committee as a means to gather data and identify issues impacting
the retention of women geoscientists in the energy industry work force.
Ultimately, the survey’s desired outcome is to inform AAPG’s role and future actions toward improving the workplace climate for women
At deadline for this article, over 1,600 women geoscientists had completed the
survey. The survey will remain open through Sept. 30.
Survey data will be kept confidential, but the consolidated results will be
widely distributed to energy industry leaders and could help reshape energy
The survey was generated specifically for the energy sector to address a growing
work force problem. Certainly, women geoscientists outside of the energy
industry face similar challenging situations, but this survey is very precise
in its intent to focus on retaining women in the energy industry work force.
Chevron’s Family Friendly
Parallel to the workforce survey, the August Regions and Sections column began
to feature companies whose employment policies and workplace environment can be
described as “family friendly,” supporting not only women geoscientists, but also their partners in dual-career
Last month’s article featured BP Exploration.
This month we feature Chevron with examples of family-friendly employment practices from two of their business
units – one U.S., the other international.
Chevron supports women geoscientists through its flexible, extended leave policy
for women before and after childbirth and even through the design of its office
“Mothers rooms” are available at every Chevron site – the company’s flexible employment practices have proved advantageous by enabling Chevron to
retain skilled employees so vital to maintaining their competitive position in
- Rachel Preece is a technical team lead with Chevron International Exploration and Production
Company in its Southern Africa Business Unit.
British by birth, Rachel was hired by Chevron in 1999 in the London, England
office. After several years of traveling widely for Chevron she eventually
chose to relocate to Chevron’s Houston facility from California. In 2007, her immediate management worked
with her to define a telecommuting project plan that allowed Rachel to return
to work quickly after the birth of her son.
“This attention to individual needs and project management flexibility benefited
both myself (valuable time with my infant) and my employer (maintaining access
to key skill sets),” she said. “I have subsequently returned to my office with no interruption to my career.”
- Martha Gerdes, leader of the seal and trap team for Chevron Energy Technology, is the mother
of twins and a singleton, and is an AAPG member. She has worked part-time (2/3
time, 27 hours per week) since her twins were born five years ago.
“I took a six-month family leave then (two months on bed rest and four months
after their birth),” she said. “My third child was born two years ago and I took an almost eight-month family
leave. In these last five years while part-time and intermittently on family
leave, I have continued to be provided with strong career opportunities,
including two promotions, strong salary actions and a move to team supervisor.
“More importantly to me personally, the company has continued to be very flexible
with my work hours, allowing me to alter my basic work schedule over time as my
children’s school and childcare needs have changed,” she said. “Additionally, the company is supportive of my sometimes-weekly needs for
flexibility to accommodate childcare issues, take sick children to the doctor,
attend parent-teacher conferences, etc.
“In a less flexible work environment I would have left the work force, at least
temporarily, while my children are young, as they truly are my priority,” she said. “Chevron has given me no excuse to do so, so here I am still, no complaints!”