This cross-sectional qualitative study is based on semi-structured interviews and correspondence with female international rotational assignees, and interviews with HR professionals involved in selection and deployment for such assignments.
The purpose of this exploratory research is to understand how women have accessed male-dominated oil and gas international rotational assignments and why they believe these roles to be professionally worthwhile.
HR personnel stereotype women as unsuitable for international rotational assignments. Women must be exceptionally determined and/or circumvent selection processes to access such roles. Women value the professional and personal development gained from international rotational assignments which helps them widen their occupational skills capacity.
To extend these findings, larger samples of female international rotational assignees and research in a wider range of industries are required. Longitudinal studies could further our understanding of women’s career progression building upon their international rotational assignment experience.
To reduce stereotyping of women’s perceived unsuitability, greater understanding of international rotational assignment roles/environments is required by managers involved in selection. Transparent selection processes are required to support diversity. Greater interest in the work performed by international rotational assignees will raise their profile and assist with wider labour market opportunities.
Organisational representatives unintentionally reinforce occupational segregation by stereotyping women as less appropriate workers than men for international rotational assignments.
This research hears women’s voices as they begin to make inroads into the masculine world of oil and gas international rotational assignments. Research propositions and recommendations for practice are suggested to assist in breaking down male monopoly in this context.