Celebrating the Woman at Advance Global Recruitment: Allana Black

Advance Global Recruitment prides itself on having and maintaining a strong, inclusive company culture that enables the progression of anyone in AGR, regardless of gender. But we also know that progress is still needed to ensure that the Energy industry becomes more balanced.

Women contribute to half the population, yet only make up 37% of the GDP. Although there has been a notable shift within industries to be more inclusive, many sectors still see a heavy bias towards being a male-dominated industry. According to the International Energy Agency, within the traditional energy sector, women only make up 22% of the workforce.

AGR has been fortunate to have strong women make up 50% of our workforce, with several representing senior positions. Our team has steadily continued to grow despite the strong bias within the Energy Industry.

For International Women’s Day this year, we want to acknowledge one of our hard-working leaders, Allana Black, our Operations Manager based in our Aberdeen office.

Allana was not only employee of the year in 2021 but also continued her post-graduate studies whilst working full-time. Her commitment and passion for the industry have not only added to AGR’s value but helps showcase the strides women can make within the Energy Industry when given the chance to do so.

We interviewed Allana on what International Women’s Day means to her and what she believes can be done for women in the Energy Sector, and she also discussed what drew her to the industry.

1. What advice would you give to women wanting to start in this industry?

Every woman entering the industry should know that she will be valued and she can make a difference in a dominated industry. I think anyone willing to learn, be committed and have a positive attitude is more likely to succeed wherever they go, and I’ve certainly adopted this approach since a young age.

The Energy Sector provides opportunities to many people worldwide, and hopefully, we are collectively creating a sustainable industry for those entering the industry now. There is no limit to what you can achieve, and gender should not determine success.

2. What drew you to the energy industry?

It was a natural progression for me to work in Oil and Gas. My Dad was a Rig Mechanic, Maintenance Supervisor and later a Project Manager for upgrade and repair projects internationally. As a family, we were fortunate enough to follow his career and visit wonderful countries, which allowed me to learn about different cultures. This helped build respect and empathy for people in the Oil and Gas Industry. I think this is one driving force behind me genuinely caring about those who work in our industry. I thrive on helping people secure opportunities and like to see others do well. Contract conditions, offshore environments and working patterns are all important to our temporary contractors. We must understand people to provide a professional service to contractors and clients worldwide.

3. What does international women’s day mean to you?

It’s important to celebrate women’s achievements and raise awareness about discrimination. Gender equality is both a fundamental human right and a solution to many global challenges.

It is crucial to acknowledge that we all have different views. I feel that diversity in the workplace can be highly beneficial in determining strategies and enhancing creativity to achieve success.

4. What would you like to see done more of within the Energy sector for women?

We all need to continue to support each other regardless of gender. Gender diversity in the energy sector is vital for driving more innovative and inclusive solutions for global clean energy transitions.

Companies should also support maternity, paternity, and equal pay policies to ensure all employees have equal rights in the workplace, which I think within the UK, most companies do.

Supporting new parents by offering flexible working can assist with attracting and retaining talent within the workforce.

As the Energy Sector is worldwide, dependent on your position, often working later at night assists with providing a good service. For example, as soon as I wake up, I speak with contacts in Australia and often, before bed, I speak with contacts based in Houston. However, it is important to get the right balance in life between work and home life, something I am getting better at.

The pandemic highlighted our ability to adapt and utilise technologies to stay connected; therefore, working around family commitments would be one thing for companies to consider.

5. How has AGR helped you further your personal/career goals?

AGR identifies talent quickly, and we provide opportunities to employees at all levels. A clear career plan is provided at the early stages of employment, and performance is reviewed frequently to offer additional support for training and development.

Early in my career, I was awarded an Outstanding Contribution Award in 2019, and in 2021, I was awarded Employee of the Year. Highlighting and rewarding employees makes them feel valued and motivates them to sustain a high level of performance.

Whilst studying for my postgraduate diploma in Oil, Gas and Renewable Energy Law, I was offered study leave days if required; however, due to having so much spare time during covid for reading and essays, I didn’t utilise the study leave days fully. I studied both degrees part-time and worked full-time; therefore, I was prepared for the pressure of being organised and committed.

Lastly, my mum and dad live at opposite ends of the world, and when they visit Scotland, AGR is very accommodating regarding annual leave and working from home. I think everyone at AGR understands the importance of family, and I am grateful for that.

AGR is a forward-thinking business that constantly offers support to employees and always puts people first, whether that is internal staff, candidates or clients. We have a vibrant group of employees who are keen to do well, making it easier for us a business to support employees when required.