Our Upstream business face specific challenges in achieving gender balance because of the under-representation of women in specialist roles. These roles also attract higher levels of pay because of a scarcity of skills in the market. So recognising this, we have plans to build a culture in which women can thrive to achieve better representation.

women in lab


Steve Phimister, VP Upstream UK

“Our Upstream business extracts oil and gas from the North Sea and brings it onshore to meet the many energy needs in the UK. Traditionally, it has been a very male dominated environment, due to the tough working conditions and fewer women studying engineering at university. Because of this, 14% of our technical roles are held by women, with few senior female role models.”

“One area we are focusing on is improving diversity at the top. Achieving better balance at the leadership level has brought more diversity of thought to our discussions, leading to:

  • More visible leaders for junior employees to look up to;
  • A more inclusive and open culture where issues are discussed and acted upon; and
  • A fresh approach to developing women ranging from our social investment programmes for secondary school pupils to targeting female colleagues for development opportunities.

There is no quick fix, balance will take time, but we are committed to bringing about change. Our focus is now on bringing better balance at the middle management level, so our culture strengthens from the top to bottom.”


Steve Phimister

Improving diversity is a core part of my business plan. The fresh perspectives in my leadership team are helping us make better decisions. The more progress we make, the stronger our business will be.

Steve Phimister, VP Upstream UK


Bringing strong foundations through our Trader Development Programme

Building better gender balance in our Trading organisation through the Trader Development Programme, where people learn everything they need to know to become a trader.

Campaign to better understand our ethnic profile

In September 2019, Shell in the UK held a series of engagements on D&I focused on race and ethnicity at work. This included a campaign to increase ethnicity declaration ahead of plans to better understand our ethnicity pay gap in 2020.

Case studies

These describe the specific and differing challenges in some of our business areas, and the actions being taken to improve representation and build a more balanced and inclusive workplace at Shell in the UK.