IWD 2021: Interview with Caroline Alting

The Maersk Drilling Board Member and Head of Integrity & Projects catches up with AOW.

Caroline Alting has served on Maersk Drilling’s Board of Directors since April 2019.

She began her career with A.P. Moller – Maersk in 2003 as an Engineer in Maersk Oil. In 2009 she started in Maersk Drilling and has since then held various positions, most recently as Head of Engineering and Projects in the Technical Organisation and, since 2020, as Head of Integrity & Projects in Operations. Caroline holds an MSc in Chemistry.

What drew you to a career in the oil and gas industry?

Well, basically a very interesting job prospect. As a chemical engineer with a specialisation in corrosion, I saw a job posting with an oil company only a few years into my career, which entailed providing solutions to corrosion on the company’s platforms. It sounded like a great opportunity. Specifically, to be able to see the platforms, investigate failures and provide solutions in combination with experiencing flying in helicopters drove me to apply.

Describe your leadership style in just a few sentences.

I am first and foremost a team player and view myself as being inclusive of those around me. I want to take my team’s views into account before making decisions, and to allow my employees to feel informed. I try to be as transparent as I can within the realms of my position. I have an executionary mindset that provides great strength towards getting things done, however I constantly need to balance it against the bigger picture to ensure that I don’t go off course.

What is your view on “positive discrimination initiatives”, or the use of hiring quotas in achieving gender parity?

Driving progress on minimizing the gender gap in leadership is a challenge for many companies worldwide, and even more so for a company in the oil and gas industry, where women continue to be heavily underrepresented.

In Maersk Drilling we are working towards tangible onshore female leadership targets to tackle this issue head-on. The targets include a share of 30% female leaders across onshore leadership levels, 25% for senior leaders, and 20% for our Executive Leadership Team by end-2023.

In my opinion, setting such targets does not reflect that this is a zero-sum game. The future of our company relies on new ways of thinking, diverse ideas, and approaches to work, and by building a more diverse workforce I believe the company will grow, thereby creating more opportunities for all Maersk Drilling employees. I don’t believe that the concept of a target in itself is the most critical here – it is the actual impact that derives from moving towards a gender balance, and awareness should be brought to this fact as well as for other diversity categories.

How is Maersk Drilling working to attract the best young – especially female – talent to work in oil and gas?

In 2020, Maersk Drilling developed a dedicated Diversity & Inclusion plan, within which a key focus area is the attraction and retention of diverse and highly-skilled talent. Among other initiatives, we are working to provide greater flexibility in ways of working for all our employees and are making inclusive leadership a key part of our leadership development programmes. We are also focusing on building a diverse talent pipeline for critical leadership positions by, for example, assigning female talents to cross-functional projects that expose them to various parts of the company. This is a critical enabler for competency-building that further along the line will qualify them for senior positions.

Linked to this, what is the number one characteristic you look for in new hires?

When basic educational requirements are in place, what I look for is passion and drive. We need people that can act swiftly and dare to challenge the status quo.

Are you interested in getting involved in the D&I conversation in the oil and gas sector? Join AOW Accelerates: Diversity & Inclusion at AOW 2021. Register here.


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