Flexibility Important to Employees

Retention Survey Open Through September

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 geoscientists.

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 industry employment.

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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 geoscientists.

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 industry employment.

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 Employment Practices

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 households.

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 facilities.

“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 the industry.

  • 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!”

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