As the only oil and gas company to make The Times Top 50 (TT50) Employers for Women this year, Shell has strengthened its position as a leading figure in driving equality across the industry.

But, while this is welcome recognition of the strides Shell has taken in this area, there is more to do.

A recent survey by NES Global Talent suggests that three quarters of women working in the oil and gas sector feel welcome in the industry. However the report also states that 45% of women still believe they don’t receive the same recognition as men.

Leading the way

The nod from TT50 is testament to Shell’s recognition of the gender imbalance as well as its varied initiatives to help redress it.

“Our inclusion in the list shows that we are again being recognised as a leader in Diversity & Inclusion policies,” says VP for UK Human Resources at Shell Trui Hebbelinck. “Particularly in relation to the work we have done around promoting more women into leadership roles.”

One of these women is Ceri Powell, Shell’s Executive VP for Exploration International. In 2014, for the second year running, Ceri featured on Fortune Magazine’s list of the Most Powerful Women in Business, demonstrating the level of career development that can be achieved at Shell, regardless of gender.

“The energy industry is constantly pushing boundaries, and being a woman can be a powerful element in working in new environments,” says Ceri. “I hope that my achievement is an inspiration for young technical female professionals.”

Women’s Networks at Shell provide another source of inspiration for female employees and are currently thriving throughout the organisation. Each of the 20 regional branches was set up to create a space in which Shell women can network and support each other in advancing their careers.

Trust and flexibility

Key to career advancement is trust and flexibility – two themes Shell has made central to its work processes business-wide.

Global Pricing, Planning & Portfolio Manager Britt Burnett came to Shell from the finance sector, where she says there was not nearly as much attention given to people development.

“Shell shows a lot of trust in its employees and allows for a lot of flexibility in ways of working, which helps men and women alike. It makes me proud to work for a company that tables discussions around gender diversity within the workplace.”

While Shell feels that more could always be done, making The Times Top 50 is an indication that the right steps are being taken to help move the industry ever closer to being gender-neutral.

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