In an industry heavily dominated by white men, most gas drilling companies continue to ignore a state law requiring them to make efforts to include minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses in contracting opportunities.
As StateImpact Pennsylvania previously reported, last year marked the first time drillers had to fill out a legally-mandated diversity survey. Most of them didn’t respond.
Dave Spigelmyer, who heads the industry group the Marcellus Shale Coalition, says gas companies are committed to hiring locally.
“We will continue to make collaborative efforts – working with a diverse set of stakeholders – as shale development matures aimed at creating even more opportunities and partnerships with local businesses,” he wrote in an email.
Pennsylvania’s 2012 oil and gas law –known as Act 13– directs drillers to provide “maximum practicable contracting opportunities” to small diverse businesses. It doesn’t set quotas, but it does require gas companies to respond to an annual survey and use the state Department of General Services’ (DGS) database to identify certified small diverse businesses.
The response rate to this latest survey was better. Forty percent of companies replied this time, compared to 27 percent last year. Among those who responded, most said they did not employ any small diverse businesses, nor did they use the DGS database. Many companies reported that they already had their contractors selected.
The report also criticizes the industry for failing to engage in recruitment efforts specifically targeted at women, minorities, and veterans.
“Outreach efforts by producers continue to be an area of weakness,” DGS staff wrote, “16 of 27 producers (59 percent) did not participate in or provide networking events or job fairs for [small diverse businesses].”
According to a recent workforce survey by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, 84 percent of gas workers are listed as white. Latinos and blacks make up six and four percent, respectively and men outnumber women three to one.