Diversity in the energy industry is a significant problem. According to a 2018 study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 5.4 percent of African Americans and 19.1 percent of women are employed in the oil and gas extraction industry.
Rolling out recently spoke about the importance of diversity within the energy industry with Vickie Irwin-Avery, a supplier development manager at Southern Company, one of the largest energy providers in the United States, serving nine million customers through its subsidiaries.
“Diversity is important because it represents the fabric of our nation,” Irwin-Avery said. “Diversity and inclusion are especially important in the supply chain because it fuels small and diverse businesses that support job creations.”
Irwin-Avery encourages people of color to learn more about the fast-growing energy industry. “It’s going to be very important for the minority community, especially to understand the trends of where the energy industry is going,” she said.
Furthermore, Irvin-Avery said she advocates for the inclusion of more people of color in the energy industry because of the empowering financial impact it offers. According to the International Energy Agency, total investment in the U.S. energy sector was $350 billion in 2018.
“In the minority communities, I would like to see us learn more about the trends of where the energy industry is going and how we can find ways to make sure [minorties] are included in the economy and economics of that, as well as how we’re included in creating better lives for our families and more,” Irwin-Avery said.