The ethnicity pay gap shows the difference in the average pay and bonuses between ethnic minority and non-ethnic minority employees across an organisation, expressed as a percentage of average non-ethnic minority pay. We have chosen to use the same methodology as for our gender pay gap reporting. However, our ethnicity declaration rate is not 100% and all calculations are based on a declaration rate of 84%. The 16% of our workforce who have not provided data cannot be included in our calculations.

We also recognise that without a near 100% declaration rate on ethnicity, we cannot at present provide a complete picture of pay and bonuses across Shell in the UK from an ethnicity perspective.

We will continue to strive towards increasing declaration rates in order to build a more complete profile of our workforce, this is to help us to track trends and take more targeted action to further reduce any gap in the future.

In our second year of voluntarily reporting, the average ethnicity pay gap is 21.9%, an increase from 8.5% in 2020, and our ethnicity bonus gap has decreased to -22.9% from 9.3% in 2020. Within our ethnic minority groups, the pay gaps vary, and we continue to see the highest pay gaps when comparing the average pay of Black employees with the rest of our workforce.

The key factors driving our ethnicity pay and bonus gap are:

  • 1. Ethnic minority employees are under-represented in senior roles

  • 2. Increased rates of ethnicity declaration – from 75% to 84%

  • 3. Within certain of our employing companies in the UK, a large proportion of our ethnic minority employees are employed in more junior roles

  • 4. The way bonuses are calculated in some of our businesses

Senior roles

employees in our UK workforce

Compared with the proportion of ethnic minority employees in our UK workforce, ethnic minority employees are under-represented in senior roles

While ethnic minority employees make up 24.9% of our total UK workforce, overall ethnic minority representation decreases as seniority increases, with 11.3% in senior roles which attract higher pay. To address this, we are working to implement recommendations from The McGregor-Smith Review, which considers the issues affecting ethnic minority groups in the workplace.

Organisational change

employees in our UK workforce

The impact of global organisational change

Like our gender pay gap; our ethnicity pay gap is also affected by organisational change and talent movement into and out of the UK and Shell. These moves, at both junior and senior levels of the organisation, influence our year-on-year results. In 2020, in response to challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we took steps to preserve cash, including a global review of international assignments. That resulted in some employees repatriating to and from the UK from overseas. These factors have affected our ethnicity pay gap this year.

Ethnicity declaration

Increased rates of ethnicity declaration – from 75% to 84%

Increased rates of ethnicity declaration – from 75% to 84%

There were an additional 640 employees (around 9%) who declared their ethnicity in 2021 compared to 2020, which provides a more meaningful picture of the profile of our workforce, but it also makes year-on-year comparisons a challenge. We are proud of our continued efforts to increase ethnicity declaration, and with sustained appropriate targeted action, we expect to see the ethnicity pay gap close at Shell in the UK over the long term.

Over-representation

our employing companies in the UK

Within certain of our employing companies in the UK, a large proportion of our ethnic minority employees are employed in more junior roles

Shell Energy Retail Limited (SERL) saw ethnicity declaration rates rise to 91% in 2021 from 40% in 2020 due to a joint effort between colleagues, leaders, and the people team, with the aim to support a better understanding of the makeup of the SERL workforce. Whilst from ethnic minority backgrounds employees are generally well represented in SERL's overall workforce, a larger proportion of ethnic minority employees who shared their ethnicity in 2021 work in junior customer advisory roles. In order to continue to close the gap and drive a more proportionate representation at all levels in the business for ethnic minority employees, SERL has introduced focused development initiatives ranging from internal programmes for aspiring leaders (such as mentoring schemes and internal development programmes), through to development programmes with external providers such as the Windsor Leadership Programme and The Talent Accelerator (developed by the Black British Business Awards).

The way bonuses are calculated

The way bonuses are calculated

Bonuses paid in our trading business was one of the main factors contributing to a decrease in our ethnicity bonus gap for 2021. There were no bonuses paid to most Shell in the UK employees in 2021 due to challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, which had an impact on our ethnicity bonus gap. The significant decrease in our ethnicity bonus gap for 2021 results from continued higher variable pay in trading roles, where we have a proportionately higher representation of some ethnic minority ethnic groups in senior trading roles relative to other ethnic groups.

The steps we are taking

We continually strive to ensure that the representation and inclusion of employees at Shell in the UK is in line with the relevant UK working population and to remove barriers from ethnic minority backgrounds employees to reach senior levels. Within our ethnic minority groups, the highest pay gaps occur when comparing the average pay of Black employees with the rest of our workforce.

To drive progress towards addressing the underrepresentation of Black employees, in 2020 we introduced recruitment aspirations for 8% of our graduate and experienced hires to be from Black ethnic backgrounds by 2025.

This is an important part of our broader efforts to support ethnic minority employees to participate in reciprocal mentoring, targeted development programmes and provide greater visibility of ethnic minority role models for employees as they navigate their own careers. Shell in the UK will continue to hire, retain, and promote people based on merit. By removing barriers, widening our recruitment to attract diverse candidates, and supporting and developing employees, each business in the UK will also work towards ensuring representation and inclusion of ethnic minority groups at Shell in the UK in line with the relevant UK working population.

Equal pay vs ethnicity pay gap

We are confident we pay equally for work of equal value, regardless of ethnic origin. We conduct regular analysis to ensure this is the case and engage openly with our employees on the mechanisms we have in place to ensure non-discriminatory pay practices.


We do have an ethnicity pay gap, which is different. That is the difference in the average pay and bonuses between ethnic minority and non- ethnic minority employees across an organisation.

Our approach

We aim to create a culture that allows all our employees to bring their whole selves to work, be their best and thrive and perform well. 

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.

Download our 2021 diversity pay gap report

We are taking meaningful action and monitoring progress to address our pay gaps and build a more diverse and inclusive workplace at Shell in the UK.