The American Petroleum Institute hosted its third annual Women in Energy event at CERAWeek highlighting the prominent role women play in the natural gas and oil industry. Nearly half of the women currently employed in the industry work in management and professional jobs, a number that is expected to grow through 2035.

“We want to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and our outreach to women is central to those goals,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard.  “We want to attract and retain the best available talent to help keep America’s energy renaissance going.

“The industry continues to focus on addressing current and future workforce challenges. From our research and through work in communities across the country, we must do more to build awareness about the vast opportunities, training, and education necessary to fill future energy jobs. Highlighting the growing number of successful women in the industry and defining the many pathways that lead to careers in the oil and natural gas industry will help us attract more women. Energy is a growing sector that is driven by innovation. That innovation and the future of our industry require that our workforce better reflect the diversity of our nation.”

According to a recent API study, there is a real need to raise awareness of the opportunities for women and minorities in the industry. Minorities and women are projected to account for nearly 40 percent of the 1.9 million job opportunities projected through 2035 in the natural gas and oil industry. These numbers could be higher with a focus on STEM education. While opportunities are available at nearly every educational level, holding a STEM degree nearly doubles the likelihood of working in the industry, and the average annual pay in the oil and natural gas industry is nearly $50,000 higher than the 2016 U.S. average.