People in group
Parminder Kohli, Vice President Lubricants Europe, Russia and Africa, and one of our ethnicity sponsors

It was also in recognition that while 14% of the UK working population identified as Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) at the time, this level of representation was not reflected in our UK workforce.

Understanding the profile of our employees allows us to monitor the diversity of our workforce, and track our recruitment, progression and promotion practices to measure the effectiveness of our plans, identify any barriers to full participation and take subsequent action. The engagements comprised the following:

  • Monika Khullar, VP HR UK, communicated to more than 1,000 UK line managers the expectation for leaders to hold team discussions on race and ethnicity in the workplace. A message was also sent to more than 5,000 UK employees outlining the week’s activities and calling for colleagues to share their ethnicity.
  • Shared videos from UK leaders explaining why declaring ethnicity is important to them and how the data will be used.
  • Organised a panel discussion with the theme #EmbraceTheDifference including internal and external panellists. The panel discussed topics such as progression of people from ethnic minority backgrounds and how to have a conversation about race and ethnicity at work.
  • Parminder Kohli, one of our UK leaders and ethnicity sponsors, wrote a blog called ‘Let’s Talk About Ethnicity’ sharing personal reflections on his own challenges of being an ethnic Asian employee and what we can all do to embrace our differences, and help each other to feel a sense of belonging.
  • Our employee networks amplified the message that ethnicity data allows us to understand the challenges that ethnic minorities face, and that the data can be used to inform actions to overcome these barriers and build a more inclusive workplace.


Following the week’s events and campaign, there was an increase in ethnicity declaration from 52.6% to 58%. Shell in the UK’s 2019 annual employee survey scores for D&I across ethnic minority colleagues also showed a two-point increase on 2018, with Respect and Trust showing a one-point increase compared to 2018.

Recognising that increasing ethnicity declaration rates requires sustained campaigns over an extended period of time, in February 2020, we reminded colleagues to disclose their ethnicity in our human resources system. This proved successful; our ethnicity declaration rate increased significantly from 58% in Q3 2019 to 84% at the end of Q1 2021, providing us with more meaningful data to publish our ethnicity pay gap and better monitor and evaluate our progress. Leveraging best practice from Shell UK, Shell Energy Retail Limited’s (SERL) declaration has improved significantly from 40% in 2020 to 91% during 2021. Driving a higher disclosure rate came from a commitment in SERL’s Diversity and Inclusion agenda supported by senior leadership. SERL have also supported employees in understanding that building a view of the workforce will enable opportunity to form meaningful plans and conduct targeted interventions.

Monika Khullar

Let’s not be afraid to talk about ethnicity…We all have a part to play in building a company we can be proud of.

Monika Khullar, VP HR Downstream Sectors and UK


Shell in the UK’s commitment to racial equality and inclusion

Our UK Chair, Sinead Lynch, hosted a ‘Let’s Talk About Race: A Time for Solidarity’ panel discussion in June 2020 on why the topic of race and ethnicity should matter to everyone at Shell in the UK, what we are doing to address racial inequality at work, and how we can all play our part to be more inclusive.

St. Fergus Gas Plant – Leading the way on breaking down barriers

Shell in the UK has been helping to break down the gender gap and associated barriers by promoting careers within the energy industry and initiatives such as “Girls in Energy” which was launched in 2010 in partnership with the North East Scotland College.

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.