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


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.

Simon Roddy, VP Upstream UK

We recognise the strength that comes from having a balanced and diverse organisation. To be successful in Upstream we must continue to embrace and champion diversity and inclusion, as evidenced by the leadership team taking active roles within our employee networks. There are unique challenges to the Upstream business, and the initiatives in place aim to support us in achieving our goal of a better balance amongst leadership and within technical roles, as we know this will make us an even stronger business.

Simon Roddy, VP Upstream UK


Inclusive Leadership – Developing our Female Black, Asian and Ethnic Minority Talent

For a number of years, each of our businesses and functions have focused on talent plans to support the identification and development of women at different stages of their careers.

Diversity and inclusion in reshaping Shell for the future

We have maintained our focus on embedding the principles of diversity and inclusion in the way we do business despite challenging global conditions and an organisational review in 2020. Read more about how maintaining a diverse workforce is central to our Powering Progress strategy and the future of Shell in the UK.

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.