According to a recent study by the Petroleum Equipment and Services Association (PESA), it is estimated that 15% of people employed in the oil and gas industry are female, with only 8% occupying technical engineering roles.  Historically the oily and gas industry has struggled to attract and retain female talent but this is something companies are striving to change. 

NES is committed to building upon diversity in the industries we work within and to do so, we’re exploring women’s experience in engineering. We spoke with Natasche Cronje, a Completion Engineer  working in the oil and gas industry, currently based in Iraq.

1. How has the oil and has industry changed over the years?

There is always a constant change in the energy industry, as technology evolves so does safe work practice. In our industry learning and adaptation is key to longevity in a career.

Every three to four years international standards are reviewed and changed when necessary and so it goes hand-inhand as to how we should approach each new project.

As information technology has grown there is no longer silo structures of one person per discipline.

2. What’s been your biggest challenge?

My view with challenges are very different than the norm and my motto is: ''I am a storm with skin'' and encourage and adapt a positive rather than negative viewpoint in all situations within various conditions.

Since starting my career at 20, I have been very motivated to pursue a challenging and rewarding career in the industry and its applications by being self-driven, constructive, innovative and had to make myself competent for doing all my tasks and ensuring integrity and compliance to standards at all time.

You also have to be two steps ahead. The general saying 'it is what it is' does not apply - as I believe it's always what you make of it.

One of the biggest challenges for women would be to build a good reputation and trust within their teams, ultimately to be a fierce leader, similar to the matriarch in the elephant animal kingdom!

If you are a fearless leader, your team will go above and beyond. Bring on any challenge and we can make it an opportunity!

3. Would you recommend your career choice to other women?

I would definitely recommend the industry to any woman and I am a firm believer that the industry has moulded me into who I am today. It has taught me strengths I never knew I had, perseverance to withstand any storm, and has humbled me; but it has also taught me the bigger picture and what really matters.

We change people's lives by improving processes. It's really amazing when you think of what we really achieve.

4. What can companies do to improve oil and gas opportunities for women?

I think that the energy sector is less understood than conventional career choices, so more awareness should be generated. There are women working successfully in difficult environments, yet it is less heard of.

Companies can really focus on encouraging and empowering the next generation of women leaders.

5. How have you found support from NES?

I absolutely, absolutely just love my NES team!

From onboarding to mobilization they have supported me a lot  - always helpful and very friendly, and they really go all the way. Meeting the team in Dubai was great - you just feel so welcome.

Sometimes it can be really challenging to work in Iraq, but with a support structure like the NES team provided it definitely makes it easier because you know they will always help wherever they can.

It was also great to see two of our representatives when they came to visit all out camps sites in Iraq, and just the other day we had a courtesy call to check in to see how we were doing.

''You can take my chocolate '' but do not take my NES team! They are amazing!

NES and Diversity 

With over 60 offices around the globe, NES has a diverse workforce and we recognise, respect and value the diverse nature of the wider society in which we operate. We are proud to partner with APSCO’s “Women in recruitment” action group and have committed to their Gender Equality Charter; we are a member of Pink Petro - an organisation dedicated to connecting and advancing women in Energy and last year we conducted a survey in partnership with Energy Jobline that asked over 1000 female engineers how they feel about working in the industry.

We are committed to increasing job opportunities for women and helping client to meet their diversity goals. If you're an employer looking for assistance with your staffing requirements, please contact us

Looking for our previous editions? Read our interviews with Nicola Jamieson, Victoria WohlLexi Meeke, and Rose Button

NES Global Talent is proud to announce the strategic alignment between ourselves and the Fircroft Group to create NES Fircroft, one of the leading human capital solutions businesses for engineering and technical talent globally.