Visible leadership

Toib Olomowewe (ER/IR Manager UK) has been recognised in the EMpower 2021 Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders List. This list showcases future leaders making a significant contribution to BAME inclusion in the workplace. Toib has also been listed in the inaugural EMpower 2021 Top 10 UK Black Role Models List, which recognises individuals who actively create a workplace where Black and other ethnic minority individuals have an equal opportunity to thrive.
Toib Olomowewe (ER/IR Manager UK) has been recognised in the EMpower 2021 Top 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders List. This list showcases future leaders making a significant contribution to ethnic minority inclusion in the workplace. Toib has also been listed in the inaugural EMpower 2021 Top 10 UK Black Role Models List, which recognises individuals who actively create a workplace where Black and other ethnic minority individuals have an equal opportunity to thrive.

The leaders of Shell in the UK are committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all employees. To achieve this, they take actions, such as sponsorship of our diversity pillars (disability, ethnicity, gender, LGBT+), our employee networks and help to shape our policies. They also lead group discussions on diversity and inclusion and demonstrate inclusive behaviors. As well as working to promote inclusion through external partnerships and using our voice to be advocates of change, they can also work within our own Shell community. Examples of this include:

  • Roland Ilube, UK senior leader and board member for Business in the Community’s Race Equality Board, was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021, and received an OBE in June 2021 for services to diversity and inclusion. We also recognised the great work our people do through the Shell UK Top Role Models for Inclusion, which celebrate the inspiring work of individuals who contribute towards building an inclusive and diverse workplace at Shell in the UK. Nominations were judged by a UK Country Coordination Team (CCT) member, our D&I Employee Networks and HR representatives, with our role models recognised by the UK Country Chair and their achievements made visible to all. This initiative provides an opportunity to showcase and celebrate best practice across the UK, demonstrating how diversity and inclusion sit at the heart of our organisation.

  • In 2021, Shell in the UK was recognised in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women list. We have been included in the annual ranking in 11 of the last 14 years, demonstrating our continued commitment to gender equality and inclusion, in a year where the pandemic is known to have had a disproportionate impact on women and employees from ethnic minority backgrounds. We will continue to use this accolade to encourage more women to apply for roles in Shell across all our UK businesses.

  • Sinead Lynch, our UK Country Chair in 2020, hosted ‘Let’s Talk About Race: A Time for Solidarity’, a panel discussion in June 2020. This event was in direct response to the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, which left many of our colleagues feeling discomfort, anger and hurt, but also a desire to do more as individuals and an organisation to tackle racial inequalities. The discussion centered on why 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 be more inclusive. The panel featured senior leaders and two members of our ethnic minority employee networks sharing our progress and personal reflections on ethnicity representation and inclusion. In recognition that we had not done enough, a 10-point Action Plan highlighting our commitment to addressing the inequalities that our employees from ethnic minority backgrounds may face in the workplace was outlined [link to ‘Shell in the UK’s commitment to racial equality and inclusion’ case study]. Several of these commitments focus on Black employees, where we have the largest disparities in total representation and inclusion. By early 2021, all 10 points on the Action Plan had been completed, with several due to be actioned on a repeated basis as we seek to close our gaps. We still have some way to go and will continue to evolve the plan and our commitments, listening to the voice of employees and feedback from our annual engagement and Race at Work survey.
Madeline Whitaker, Head of Corporate Relations, UK

Total inclusion requires constant and deliberate focus. This is not about avoiding exclusion, but about being deliberately and consciously inclusive – and that might mean breaking down barriers we didn’t even know were there, challenging assumptions and stepping out of our comfort zones. In the UK, and indeed across Shell as a whole, we are fully committed to creating and supporting an environment where everyone has the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

Madeline Whitaker, Head of Corporate Relations, UK


Inclusive culture

Monika Khullar VP HR DS Sectors and UK
"Care for our people is at the heart of our COVID -19 response and who we are as a company. When COVID-19 disrupted lives, leveraging our established wellbeing pillars was key, but we needed to do more. No one-size-fits-all, and to meet the ever-changing needs of our people we listened, learned and adjusted by staying connected with leaders and employee groups to target interventions, signpost support and more creatively engage.” - Monika Khullar, VP HR DS Sectors and UK

We aim to embed inclusion into all that we do, from recruitment and how teams work together, to our culture of safety, care and leadership development. We want Shell in the UK to reflect the community in which we live and to create an environment that is diverse, where all employees are supported to develop, thrive, and deliver strong performance. Supported by our employee networks, we aim to build a culture of trust and respect, which values inclusion as a key tool to improve employee engagement and business outcomes. This year we:

  • Continued to provide support to level the playing field for employees working from home during the pandemic as they balanced the demands of work and home life. In a year like no other, where bringing your whole self to work took on new meaning, line managers continued the focus on care, inclusion, and flexibility to support a range of lived experiences. This included encouraging line managers to switch off non-essential work and reset or re-prioritise goals with individual team members. Recognising that many of our employees also have caring responsibilities, our ‘Carers Hub’ includes resources and information on caring and the existing support offered by Shell in the UK and Bright Horizons, our external partner. The ‘Carers Hub’ also provides advice for how and when to use the available support policies, including our COVID-19 emergency dependent leave offered in 2020 and 2021, allowing employees to request additional paid leave to focus on caring responsibilities.

  • Will continue to embed a culture of flexibility in working practices by providing more flexible work choices, balancing business needs and individual preferences as we move towards making offices available again to everyone who wants or needs to be there. By leveraging technology and embracing a hybrid of office-based and home-based working, we hope to offer employees greater flexibility in work location, work setting and start and finish times to better support employees to manage personal demands and empower everyone to take greater ownership of their work-life balance.

  • Continued to support employees balance different life choices and stages. This has included supporting parents through our Parenting Network and employees experiencing menopausal symptoms, by making advice and guidance readily accessible, including via an internal support group and dedicated Menopause Guide for individuals and managers. For all employees either going on, or returning from, long-term leave (12+ weeks) for family, personal, or health reasons, we offer three coaching sessions with an external coach. These aim to help employees to balance their recent life changes and provide support for a successful return to work.

  • Developed additional material to support women working offshore through our 50:50 in Operations scheme run by Balance (our gender equality network). This includes an ‘Introduction to Offshore Operations’ video and a pamphlet providing advice to those going offshore for the first time. The Balance network supporting the 50:50 in Operations project also contributed to shaping guidance developed by the AXIS Network in partnership with Step Change in Safety on inclusive offshore working. These materials provide practical advice and quick wins for employers and leaders working offshore to help build a more inclusive culture, a key factor in people’s experience of their working environment and towards driving gender parity.

  • Recognise that disability inclusion extends to the communities and customers we serve, and Shell in the UK has offered drivers assistance with refueling their cars through the FuelService App. This allows drivers with a disability to ask one of our 993 participating retail stations for help in advance of their journey should they need it, providing them with the confidence that someone will be available to assist them with refueling on arrival.

  • Held a ‘UK Inclusion Summit’, a series of 19 events organised by our UK Employee Networks and HR focused on Total Inclusion throughout Q4 2020. Events included a panel discussion on the theme of intersectionality, inclusion and belonging, disability inclusion during times of transformational change, and engagements on misconceptions surrounding Black women’s hairstyles, ‘innocent’ microaggressions and being a visible Muslim in the workplace. Senior Shell leaders and external leaders in the diversity and inclusion field engaged in open, honest - and at times uncomfortable - conversations aimed at raising awareness of how we can all be more inclusive employees, managers, and leaders.

  • Celebrated key D&I dates including International Women’s Day and International Men’s Day through Balance (our gender equality network) and webinars on cyber bullying and safety online, mental health for teenagers, and financial planning for further education via our Parenting Network. Our four ethnic minority employee networks (African and Caribbean Network, Asian Network, Ibero-American Network and Aberdeen ethnic minority Network) marked events of cultural significance, including Chinese New Year, Ramadan, Black History Month, Hispanic Day, and Diwali. To celebrate Pride month, the Proud@Shell (LGBT+) Network facilitated engagements including a transgender awareness workshop and a panel discussion on making meaningful progress on inclusion for LGBT+ employees. For the first time in the UK, we also rebranded four of our service stations with the Pride rainbow livery as a mark of our support and respect for the LGBT+ community. Our enABLE (disability) Network hosted a webinar aimed at supporting employees with disabilities during organisational change and held two ‘Ask Away!’ neurodiversity engagements focused on raising awareness of Autism and ADHD.

  • Continued to champion mental health awareness, encouraging people to be open about their experiences and speak up if they are struggling. We continued supporting colleagues across our four wellbeing pillars (physical, mental, financial, and social) and recognised UK Mental Health Awareness Week with a series of events centered on positive steps to mental wellbeing. Engagements included ‘Be Your Own Chief Energy Officer’’ led by external keynote speaker Dr. Tharaka and offered practical tips to manage resilience and energy levels, ‘Zero Inbox’ to help employees take charge of their working day, and ‘Emptying Your Stress Bucket’, helping employees learn strategies to reduce and manage stress levels. [replace image in this tab with the image and quote from Monika Khullar]

  • Held a webinar on Personal Safety. This focused on practical steps our employees should take to protect themselves on and offline, and how best to support one another in feeling safe. It was supplemented with personal support resources, including our Domestic Abuse Toolkit, a range of external resources and a programme of Krav Maga virtual self-defence classes for men and women.
Shell in the UK aims to be an inclusive employer and we will continue to review our family leave and care policies to help all our employees continue to balance the demands of modern life. In the years ahead, we aim to focus on wider parental policies, recognising that everyone has numerous roles outside of work, irrespective of their gender.

During COVID-19, the emergency dependent leave allowed my family and I the opportunity to plan our new normal and how best to manage our personal situation during uncertain times. With my wife being a key worker, I was able to work more flexibly to balance my new role as the primary carer and education provider for our two sons.

Iain Macdonald, Principal Advisor Carbon Technology Advocacy


Holding ourselves accountable

We have made progress in growing leadership representation, including in our STEM and Trading roles, but we know we have more to do. We are committed to continual improvement in our leadership representation and achieving our Powering Lives D&I aspirations of 35% by end 2025 and 40% by 2030. Through active focus on attraction, recruitment, development, sponsorship, mentoring and flexible working we strive to create an ever more diverse and inclusive workplace". – Tim Harte, EVP Talent and People Strategy
"We have made progress in growing leadership representation, including in our STEM and Trading roles, but we know we have more to do. We are committed to continual improvement in our leadership representation and achieving our Powering Lives D&I aspirations of 35% by end 2025 and 40% by 2030. Through active focus on attraction, recruitment, development, sponsorship, mentoring and flexible working we strive to create an ever more diverse and inclusive workplace. – Tim Harte, EVP Talent and People Strategy

We use data to measure the effectiveness of our initiatives. The number of female senior leaders has more than doubled from 12% in 2005 to 31.8% by the first quarter of 2021. Recruitment is critical in reaching our ultimate ambition of gender balance and being more representative of the diverse communities we live and operate in.

  • As a result of the wider reach of our recruitment efforts, we have increased the number of female graduates hired from 58% in 2019 to 69% during 2020. As of the second quarter of 2021, 30% of our experienced hires were women, with our goal being to recruit 40% or more women in the UK using our experienced hires programme.

  • In the 12 months to July 2021, we exceeded our recruitment aspiration for 20% ethnic minority representation in our graduate and experienced hires, reaching 41% for graduates and 32% in our experienced hires. As part of our 10-point Action Plan, we had developed recruitment aspirations of 8% Black representation in our graduate and experienced hires by 2025 to tap into a broader talent pool and increase representation in line with society. Although hiring of Black employees is progressing, a gap to the 8% target remains. Due to the global review of our organisation, external hiring has been limited and focused on highly niche hard-to-fill roles in Trading & Supply and IT. To make further progress towards our aspiration, we have expanded our partnership with Bright Network to attract diverse graduate applicants and engaged in a new partnership with Black Young Professionals network to build our external brand profile and attract early to mid-career employees.

  • In 2018, the UK Country Coordination Team, comprised of thirteen senior leaders across our UK businesses and functions, set aspirations for 30% of senior leaders in the UK to be women by 2020, rising to 35% by 2025. We achieved our first ambition two years early (in 2018), and the percentage of senior leaders who are women in the UK increased further to 31.8% by the first quarter of 2021. Although we have made significant progress in building a diverse and inclusive workplace, we know we can do more, and there is still some way to go towards achieving our global aspirations of 35% representation by the end of 2025 and 40% by 2030 set out in our Powering Lives D&I commitments. To ensure we meet these ambitions, we will continue to drive recruitment initiatives to attract more diverse talent, and develop mentoring, sponsorship, and development programmes, supported by our approach to flexible working.

  • We continued efforts to increase ethnicity declaration to allow us to understand the profile of our employees, monitor the diversity and representation of our workforce, and better track our recruitment, progression, and promotion practices. This proved successful; our ethnicity declaration rate increased significantly from 58% in Q3 2019 to 75% at the end of Q1 2020 and has increased further to 84% as of Q1 2021, providing us with more meaningful data to publish our ethnicity pay gap and better monitor and evaluate our progress.

  • We continue to monitor UK diversity and inclusion key performance indicators (KPIs) every six months, and every year through our Diversity & Inclusion Index, following the annual employee opinion survey. Monitoring trends in areas such as recruitment, senior female representation and staff turnover allows us to measure the effectiveness of our plans, identify any obstacles and take appropriate action.

  • We measure take-up of our policies twice a year, including flexible working, family leave and care support. By Q3 2021, 4% of our employees were working part-time and 10% of our part-time employees are male compared to 7% in Q1 2019. Although this is good progress, we have more to do in encouraging more consistent uptake of part-time working between men and women, so removing a traditional barrier to a more balanced workforce.

Shell in the UK will continue to operate a meritocracy in all recruitment, retention, and progression decisions. By removing barriers, widening our recruitment to attract diverse candidates, and supporting and developing employees, each business in the UK will also work towards our 2025 and 2030 aspirations.

Succession planning and identification of future ethnic minority and female leaders are essential to ensuring a balanced pipeline of people from diverse backgrounds in the years ahead.

Attracting & developing talent

Cynthia Torto, Mobility Marketing and Communications Manager
"Being part of the BBBA Talent Accelerator programme was a fantastic opportunity for me. It was great to have the space to really explore what authentic leadership looks like for me and how I can leverage my unique skills and abilities to create a step change in my career. I welcomed the frank and productive conversations that took place with my line manager and senior leadership around the experience of being a minority in today’s workplace. Topics like these can be challenging, but everyone involved met this challenge with an open mind and a desire to learn. Completing this programme left me a toolkit of strategies, skills and behaviours I need to enhance my leadership impact and career progression". – Cynthia Torto, Mobility Marketing and Communications Manager

We believe that Shell’s success in the energy transition will rely on attracting and retaining a broad range of talent that will provide the diversity of thought required to lead through change, make bold decisions and enable our organisation to continue to thrive into the future. This means attracting diverse candidates at different stages in their careers, appealing to different groups of people, and providing meaningful opportunities to develop and retain this talent. We have:

  • Reviewed our UK recruitment practices – attraction, assessment, and selection – from a diversity perspective, including using gender-neutral language in job advertisements to minimise bias and ensuring our recruitment marketing reflects Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic, disabled and LGBT+ groups. We have broadened the group of universities we engage with to include more institutions with higher Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic representation to attract more diverse people. As a result of these changes, from 2017-2020, we have recruited 123 graduates from 39 universities and will continue to take a broad perspective in our hiring practices.

  • Continued to attract talented students via our assessed internship programme. In 2020, 14 interns from diverse backgrounds gained relevant experience and exposure to our UK businesses, and brought fresh perspectives to their teams. In 2021, our internship programme comprised of 22 hires, and we delivered above target for both ethnic minority (36%) and Black (18%) representation. To support our interns to onboard remotely and fully benefit from and maximise the opportunities our internship programme offers, our resourcing team issued bi-weekly newsletters to provide updates, a video from David Bunch (UK Country Chair) welcoming interns, and organised weekly sessions with senior leaders to provide exposure to our various UK businesses. Additionally, an initial briefing call was held with line managers and mentors to share hints and tips to support virtual working, project requirements and how best to set themselves up to provide interns with a positive experience working for Shell in the UK.

  • Continued to support the development and progression of women at different stages of their careers. This has included mentoring programmes, our partnership with Quest to help early career women launch and accelerate their careers, our Women’s Career Development Programme, Senior Women’s Connect Programme and Senior Women’s Network, all aimed at helping women reach their full potential. To support an increase in representation of future leaders from an ethnic minority background, we also sponsored opportunities for 21 of our employees from an ethnic minority background to participate in two Development Programmes, The Talent Accelerator and Emerging Leaders Programme. In our first year of offering these programmes, 48% of participating employees from an ethnic minority background were women and 43% of employees who took part comprised of our Black employees. We intend to continue offering these opportunities to employees, equipping our diverse people with the capabilities and leadership skills to further progress in their careers.

  • Colleagues from ethnic minorities face different challenges in the workplace (for example cultural, career navigation and access to development opportunities), and so we launched a series of six ‘fireside chats’ hosted by leaders from ethnic minorities. These aim to raise visibility of leadership role models from ethnic minority backgrounds and support our colleagues to learn from the experiences of others and overcome challenges when navigating their careers.

  • Continued to support seven Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) programmes, ranging from nationwide workshops that have engaged hundreds of thousands of pupils through to our local Girls in Energy programme that offers an intense year-long learning experience targeted at girls aged 14 – 16 years. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we adapted our STEM programmes, relaxing criteria for entry and delivering virtually as well as face to face, offering benefit to those students living in remote locations and learning from home.

  • Partnered with Teach First to adapt our national STEM education programmes, such as the STEM competition ‘The Bright Ideas Challenge’ to ensure it works better for schools in challenging contexts. We have also run in-school workshops staffed by Shell volunteers to engage schools that have traditionally found it difficult to participate in STEM programmes. Through the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Connecting STEM Teachers (CST) programme, we have provided training to teachers to support them in developing techniques for effectively engaging disadvantaged or disengaged pupils with STEM subjects. Almost 1500 schools have taken part in Energy Quest, our half-day STEM workshop run by EngineeringUK. This programme is 60/40 girls and boys, and 50% of workshops reach schools with an above average number of pupils eligible for free school meals.


Ilana Harper, Venture Analyst

The Shell Summer Internship gave me opportunity. The opportunity to deliver to real global projects, to challenge myself, to network and to learn – everything one would expect. However, what I did not expect was the investment and genuine care my line manager and team gave into developing me from a student to early career professional. The skills and competencies I gained during the internship are the foundation from which, as a final year graduate, I rely on today.

Ilana Harper, Venture Analyst


External partnerships

Ben van Beurden (CEO), Sinead Lynch (UK Country Chair), Tim Harte (EVP HR Talent) and Lyn Lee (VP D&I) during the Valuable 500 signing
Ben van Beurden (CEO), Sinead Lynch (UK Country Chair), Tim Harte (EVP HR Talent) and Lyn Lee (VP D&I) during the Valuable 500 signing

We collaborate with partners, from other companies in the energy industry to charities to help us build a more balanced workforce. Working with others helps us stay up to date with best practices, co-operate on issues across the energy industry and share our successes and challenges. Some recent examples include:

  • Continuing to work in partnership with POWERful Women (a UK initiative promoting the growth and development of women in the energy sector) and the Energy Leaders Coalition (ELC) comprised of 15 leading CEOs from the UK’s energy sector. We meet every quarter to improve gender diversity both within Shell in the UK and in the sector as a whole. We contributed to the annual POWERful Women report identifying the barriers to gender balance in the energy industry, and initiatives to overcome them.

  • Our ongoing partnership with Business in the Community (BITC, Prince’s Responsible Business Network) helps us lead change in the wider UK business community. Two senior Shell UK leaders sit with senior executives from other companies on the Business in the Community leadership teams for gender and race equality. These teams provide strategic guidance, share expertise and experience and shape campaigns for action for businesses. As one of the founding signatories of the Race at Work Charter, developed by the UK government and Business in the Community, Shell UK has committed to five principles designed to drive the recruitment and progression of employees from ethnic minorities, and also sponsored the 2021 Race at Work Survey to continue driving change on workplace equality.

  • The Chief Executive Officer of Royal Dutch Shell, Ben van Beurden, has signed up to the Valuable 500, a campaign where organisations and leaders have committed to disability being on the leadership agenda. This is alongside our long-standing partnership with the Business Disability Forum, a not-for-profit organisation offering advice to support customers and employees with disabilities. Our partnership with MyPlus Consulting, a consultancy working with students with disabilities, further supports our efforts in diverse student recruitment.

  • We continue to partner with leading organisations to understand how we can build a more inclusive business. For example, we work with Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) on gender balance in science, technology and engineering, with Stonewall (a campaigner for LGBT+ equality across the UK) on its Equality Index, and with the Royal Academy of Engineering to broaden the appeal of engineering. Ben van Beurden has endorsed the United Nations LGBTI Standards of Conduct for Business, which support tackling discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people.
Sinead Lynch, VP Low Carbon Fuels

We are very aware that there is much we can learn from others, both within our sector and beyond, about the barriers to achieving greater diversity at Shell in the UK and our supply chain, what is working and what is not and what great looks like in building an inclusive organisation. We greatly value the partnerships we have with groups like POWERFUL Women, the ELC and BITC and see the tangible value in participation in initiatives like the Race at Work Charter. Working with others, we can move faster and further to our ultimate objective of total inclusion.

Sinead Lynch, VP Low Carbon Fuels