Breaking News
Investing Pro 0
NEW! Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+ Try 7 Days Free

How Texas' abortion ban hurts Big Oil's effort to transform its workforce

Stock Markets Sep 23, 2022 08:10AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Hayley Hollands, an attorney, and her husband Steve Beaman, an oil worker, who moved from Texas amid concerns about the laws in the state, pose for a picture in Lone Tree, Colorado, U.S., in this undated handout picture. Hayley Hollands/Handou
 
CVX
+3.89%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 
RDSa
-0.11%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 
XOM
+3.64%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 
HAL
+6.60%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 
RIG
+8.61%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 
BP
+3.92%
Add to/Remove from Watchlist
Add to Watchlist
Add Position

Position added successfully to:

Please name your holdings portfolio
 

By Liz Hampton and Sabrina Valle

DENVER/HOUSTON (Reuters) - As Texas officials moved to restrict abortion, promote Christianity in schools and the state's power grid teetered on collapse, oil worker Steven Beaman and his wife Hayley Hollands decided it was time to live elsewhere.

By April, Beaman had joined a communications firm in Colorado, leaving behind a more than decade-long career in oil and gas, and Hollands, an attorney, soon followed, forsaking the state over its increasingly strident politics and polarization.

"It is kind of the first time I've reckoned with the idea that I don't think I'm going to live in my home state ever again," said Hollands. She likened the climate contributing to the couple's decision to leave Texas to "death by a thousand paper cuts."

Oil companies have spent millions to counter the frayed image of fossil fuels and recruit a younger and more diverse workforce. But a flaring of political culture wars - around abortion, religion and LGBT+ rights - threaten to undo hiring and retention goals, according to interviews with more than two dozen workers and a national survey.

Over half of women between 18-44 years and 45% of college-educated male and female workers would not consider a job in a state that banned abortion, according to a survey of 2,020 U.S. adults last month by opinion researcher PerryUndem.

BP (NYSE:BP), Chevron (NYSE:CVX), Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), Shell (LON:RDSa) and TotalEnergies did not comment on how abortion and cultural wars are affecting their hiring and employee retention when asked by Reuters.

GRAPHIC: Workers weight abortion bans in career decisions https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-ABORTION/zjvqkrdrmvx/chart.png

RECRUITING HURDLE

"It has always been difficult to attract women into oil and gas," said Sherry Richard, a 40-year oil industry veteran most recently human resources chief at offshore driller Transocean Ltd (NYSE:RIG). "When you create an environment that is unfriendly to women, it just makes it harder," she said.

Richard, 66, who now sits on the boards of two oilfield firms, said she does not plan to leave the state, but would support her son and his family if they moved.

The business risks to recruiting is especially high for oil companies, already unpopular with graduates of engineering programs, said Jonas Kron, chief advocacy officer at Trillium Asset Management. The Boston-based firm, which oversees $5.4 billion in investments outside of oil, is asking companies to take action to minimize the financial losses of a limited workforce.

"Lack of diversity is not only a problem to financial performance, which they are acutely aware of, but also one of company values," Kron said. "That is deeply concerning."

Some California members of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) have declined to attend the group's conference in Houston in October because of the state's anti-abortion law, which bans most abortions after about six weeks. The only exception is when a doctor certifies the mother's life is in immediate danger.

SWE after next year will not hold conferences for its 40,000 members in states with abortion bans due to "restricted access to women's healthcare," according to its website.

Trevor Best, chief executive of Syzygy Plasmonics, a Houston-based startup whose chemical reactors run on renewable electricity, recently had a woman job candidate from out-of-state say she would not consider relocating to Texas.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott has acknowledged the state is losing workers, but does not regret the departures. "We have an exchange program going on,” Abbott said in August at a conservative political gathering. "We are getting California conservatives; we are sending them our liberals.”

SILENCE ON ABORTION

The five top oil majors have said they support travel for health treatments by employees in different states. But none named abortion in their responses, nor disclosed whether there is an internal guidance for abortion care, a concern for employees who have to administer the policies.

"The rules are not clear," said a Texas engineer who also does recruiting for an U.S. oil major in Houston and declined to be named. "Will (an employee) have to tell her manager the reason of the trip for instance? I have asked for clarity, but I received no reply."

Some workers want their employers to take a stand on abortion.

"Companies say they value employee's rights and yet finance politicians who violate my rights and wellbeing," said a 45-year-old engineer at oilfield service firm Halliburton (NYSE:HAL) who declined to be identified fearing reprimands. "This is hypocrisy," she said.

Oil companies contribute to politicians who advocate for free trade, tax and energy policies through political action committees (PACs). That criteria fits a majority of Republican politicians who also vote to restrict abortion rights.

A California-based Chevron engineer who is planning to have a child and also declined to have his name used said he told his boss that he could not go ahead with a relocation to Houston.

"We find it medically unsafe to carry a pregnancy in Texas," he said, adding his wife is at high risk for ectopic pregnancies. With doctors in Texas now only able to perform emergency abortions in event of immediate danger to the mother's life, "that is too close to call for me."

Dawn Seiffert, 52, and her husband, an oil company employee, returned to Texas in 2012 and planned to stay. But with Texas' anti-abortion law implemented, the mother of four is considering moving with her daughters to Maine while her husband remains to earn full retirement benefits.

Texas politics "even before Roe" were heading in the wrong direction, Seiffert said. "The public education, the grid... they're more consumed with personal freedoms versus any responsibility towards one another," she said.

How Texas' abortion ban hurts Big Oil's effort to transform its workforce
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (10)
Cody Hawkins
Cody Hawkins Sep 24, 2022 6:58AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
The oil companies didn't even comment. This is just some opinion piece with no roots in reality.
Matthew Petyk
Matthew Petyk Sep 23, 2022 7:55AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
liberal hypocrites again. it's OK for a state or company to push Woke politics. but they will rail against states and companies that don't bow to the left-wing cult group-think.
Cody Hawkins
Cody Hawkins Sep 23, 2022 7:18AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Who signed off on this? This is gaslighting at its finest.
Don Burris
Don Burris Sep 23, 2022 7:17AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Well what do you expect from a "news outlet " like Reuters. Tens of thousands are flocking to Texas every month trying to escape the satanic leadership of some states.
John Hill
John Hill Sep 23, 2022 7:13AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Lololol! Liberal writers can spin anything yet it still leads to nothing of material fact for the masses! Let's talk about the 10s of thousands moving out of Cali and NY because of the real chaos going on there!
Ian Vestor
Ian Vestor Sep 23, 2022 7:06AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
This article is about as accurate as one of our polls. How many people do you go through before you can find so many that reflect the stupid mesage you are trying to convey? Come on Reuters!
Ian Vestor
Ian Vestor Sep 23, 2022 7:01AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
There is a couple heading nowhere
GREG LEGAKIS
GREG LEGAKIS Sep 23, 2022 6:59AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
So much misinformation in this article it's hard to count.
Ronald Raine
Ronald Raine Sep 23, 2022 6:56AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
People are pouring into Texas and fleeing California (and other blue states). There seems to be a disconnect here.
Contageral Geral
Contageral Geral Sep 23, 2022 6:22AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
LOL
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email