Core competencies in this team include data science, computational science, digital product management, digital engineering and innovation. It is especially hard to attract females into these disciplines as there is a lower proportion (26%) of female graduates with the relevant (STEM) backgrounds. Competition in the external market is fierce as many other companies are also building these skills in an era of digitalisation and are trying to attract the same, limited pool of female talent into their teams.

From the start, it was essential to create a culture and an employee value proposition that would be attractive to women and bring in greater cultural diversity; both in terms of recruitment, as well as retention of females in the team. This needed a pro-active approach and visible actions.

Mentoring and coaching for females in the Digital and Computational Science Centre of Excellence

We have taken steps that can also be replicated in other parts of the organisation which are responding to digitalisation and building the same skills. Some of the actions we have taken include:

  • Creating an open culture where the agenda for gender balance and diversity in the team is a top priority. This agenda is taken seriously and is discussed at most leadership and team meetings. All team leaders are champions of gender balance and diversity.
  • Mentoring and coaching for females in the Digital and Computational Science Centre of Excellence. This provides a better support structure and gives our leaders insights into how we need to shape the team and culture of a future organisation to better support gender equality.
  • Shared videos of female leaders across Projects and Technology talking about their experiences of working in heavily male-dominated teams and what attracts them to work in Shell.
  • Presence and presentations at external forums and conferences that attract females with the backgrounds we seek for recruitment and networking purposes.

As a result, we celebrated having 60% female representation in one of our digital teams this year and achieved 30% females overall in the Digital Centre of Excellence by the end of August 2019. Our team spans four generations, and 23 nationalities in terms of overall diversity. It is not yet enough but it is an encouraging start. It shows what can be achieved in the short space of a year by placing emphasis on the diversity agenda.

Charting a course to gender balance

In our Shipping and Maritime business, our employees ensure that Shell can continue to provide its products and services worldwide. From optimising the journey of a ship delivering liquefied natural gas from Australia to Japan, or fuels from Rotterdam to Singapore, we know our people make the difference.

Bringing balance to the Upstream Leadership Team

Some areas, like Legal and Human Resources, have good gender balance. Others like our marketing business, are making strong progress. But there are areas where we need additional focus such as in Upstream (where most of our engineering roles are based) and Trading.

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.