Visible leadership

Maryam Amussah (Production Specialist) being recognised by Steve Phimister (VP UK) in the UK Country Chair Awards for her efforts in leading and mobilising the BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) Network in Aberdeen to support our culture for inclusion and demonstrate that our people are proud ambassadors for Shell in the UK.
Maryam Amussah (Production Specialist) being recognised by Steve Phimister (VP UK) in the UK Country Chair Awards for her efforts in leading and mobilising the BAME (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic) Network in Aberdeen to support our culture for inclusion and demonstrate that our people are proud ambassadors for Shell in the UK.

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+, mental health underpinned by inclusion) and employee networks and help to shape our policies. They also lead group discussions on diversity and inclusion, and demonstrate inclusive behaviours. As well as working to promote inclusion through external partnerships and using our voice to be advocates of change, we also work within our own Shell community. Examples of this include:

  • Recognition of the great work our people do through the Country Chair Awards, which celebrate individual and team successes in progress against our Shell in the UK ambitions. These awards provide an opportunity to showcase good practice across the UK and highlight the importance of diversity and inclusion, demonstrating how it sits at the heart of our organisation.
  • In 2020, Shell in the UK was recognised in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women list. We have been included in the annual ranking in 10 of the last 13 years and placed in the top 10% of companies consistently over the last decade. We will continue to use this accolade to encourage more women to apply for roles in Shell across all our UK businesses.
  • Our UK Chair, Sinead Lynch, hosted a ‘Let’s Talk About Race: A Time for Solidarity’ panel discussion in June 2020. The discussion centred 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 Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employee networks, sharing our progress on ethnicity representation and inclusion. In recognition that we have not done enough, our UK Chair outlined a 10-point Action Plan highlighting our commitment to addressing the inequalities that our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees may face in the workplace. Several of these commitments are focused on Black employees, where we have the largest disparities in total representation and inclusion.
  • Celebrated visible Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) role models, including Roland Ilube, executive sponsor for our Shell African and Caribbean Network, who was recognised in the 2020 EMpower list of most influential Ethnic Minority Executives. We have also celebrated female role models in the organisation, including Sinead Lynch, UK Chair, and Yusra Hussain, IT Advisor – Asset Management, who were recognised in the 2020 HERoes list of Women Executive Role Models and Women Future Leaders respectively. These listings showcase business executives and future leaders who are breaking down barriers in the workplace, leading by example and driving change to build a more diverse and inclusive organisation.

Our leaders have a responsibility to continue to drive progress towards building a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Shell in the UK will make sure they have the support and training, and are held accountable for actions to improve our culture of inclusion.

Alexandra Elson

A diverse and inclusive workforce is critical to any company’s success. We have come a long way at Shell towards getting to where we ought to be, but we still have a way to go. As a UK leader, who wants our organisation to succeed, I am committed to help build the inclusive environment that can support a fully diverse workforce.

Alexandra Elson, GM External Relations UK, Nordics and South Africa


Inclusive culture

Women instructing team with marker and board

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 enabler of employee engagement and business outcomes. This year, we have:

  • Continued to embed flexible working throughout our businesses and functions, including those who have historically had lower take-up, and implemented changes to our caring and parental leave policies to support employees balancing different life choices and stages. This has included removing the previous qualifying period of 12 months, so that employees wanting to use our enhanced paid family leave policies (maternity, paternity, adoption, shared parental leave) can do so from the moment they join Shell in the UK. 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. COVID-19 has accelerated the take-up of flexible working through 2020 and we continue to seek opportunities to embed a culture of flexibility in working practices.
  • Supported employees balancing the demands of work and home life during the COVID-19 pandemic by encouraging open conversations between employees and line managers on individual priorities and flexible working options. Recognising that many of our employees also have caring responsibilities, we launched our Carers Hub which includes resources and information on caring and the existing support offered by Shell in the UK and Carers UK, our external partner. The Carers Hub also provides advice for how and when to use the available policies, including our COVID-19 emergency dependant leave, where employees can request additional paid leave to focus on caring responsibilities. To provide continued care throughout this period, a calendar of events aimed to support colleagues across our four wellbeing pillars (physical, mental, financial and social) was also introduced. These events have included a range of sessions hosted internally and by external providers to help employees navigate the many challenges and uncertainties brought about by the pandemic.
  • Recognising that disability inclusion extends to the communities and customers we serve, Shell in the UK has offered disabled drivers assistance with refueling their cars through the FuelService App. This allows disabled drivers to ask one of our 990 participating retail stations for help in advance of their journey, providing drivers with the confidence that someone will be available to assist them with refueling on arrival.
  • Celebrated key D&I dates including International Men’s and Women’s Day through our gender equality network and held an employee-led panel discussion with the parenting network where the challenges of balancing work and parenting during COVID-19 were shared. Our four BAME employee networks (African and Caribbean Network, Asian Network, Ibero-American Network and Aberdeen BAME Network) marked events of cultural significance, including Chinese New Year, Hispanic Day, Diwali, Black History month and Ramadan. To celebrate Pride month, the Proud @ Shell (LGBT+) Network facilitated a series of engagements on topics including how being out helped shape some careers, and the challenges of being out in a conservative country. Our enABLE Network hosted a disabilities workshop, where senior leaders heard personal stories, experienced what it could be like to have an impairment, and discussed how they could better support disabled colleagues to develop and progress in their careers.
  • Continued to champion mental health awareness and encouraged people to be open about their experiences. We recognised UK Mental Health Awareness week with senior leaders sharing their personal struggles with mental health and the one thing that made the biggest difference to their mental health and wellbeing. Other engagements over the week included a panel discussion where three employees shared personal stories on caring for themselves and others, and webinars on topics including workload and prioritisation, digital detox and sleep, and how to have a conversation on mental health.

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.

Iain MacDonald

The emergency dependant 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 Carbon Relations Advisor - OGC


Holding ourselves accountable

Man and women talking to each other

We use data to measure the effectiveness of our initiatives. The percentage of female senior leaders more than doubled from 12% to over 30.8% in the 15 years from 2005 to 2019, and this upward trend continued in the last 12 months to 32.6% in the first quarter of 2020. 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, our graduate female hiring has continued to increase from 58% in 2019 to 64% this year. As of the third quarter of 2020, we have also recruited 32% female experienced hires, with our goal being to recruit 40% or more women in the UK as part of our experienced hires.
  • We have achieved our 2019 aspiration for 20% BAME graduates, reaching 26% in 2019, with representation of graduates from Black ethnic backgrounds at 7% compared to 6.5% availability in the UK3. As part of our 10-point Action Plan, we have 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. This reinforces our continued efforts towards promoting an inclusive culture for all, making Shell in the UK an appealing place to work for candidates from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, and our broader efforts to attract, develop and retain this talent.
  • In 2018, the UK Country Coordination Team, comprised of thirteen senior leaders across our UK businesses and functions, set aspirations that 30% of senior leaders in the UK will be women by 2020, rising to 35% by 2025. We achieved our first ambition, reaching 30.8% female senior leaders by the first quarter of 2019, and this has increased to 32.6% in the last 12 months. To ensure we meet out 2025 ambition, 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 declarations 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. 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 75% at the end of Q1 2020, 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 (KPI’s) every six months, and every year through our diversity and inclusion index, following the annual employee opinion survey. Monitoring trends in areas such as recruitment, senior female representation and turnover allows us to measure the effectiveness of our plans, identify any obstacles and take action.
  • We measure take-up of our policies every quarter, including flexible working, family leave and care support. By Q2 2020, 4.4% of our staff were working part-time, an increase from 3.8% in Q1 2019, and 12% of our part-time staff are male compared to 7% in Q1 2019. Although this is good progress, we have more to do in making part-time working more accepted, 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 aspiration. Succession planning and identification of future Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and female leaders are essential to ensuring a balanced pipeline of people from diverse backgrounds in the years ahead.

Yusra Hussain

Diversity and inclusion means thinking and working inclusively every day. With the opportunities afforded me, I strive to be a role model for the young women that have not yet joined Shell, or who are just starting their careers; as well as engendering meaningful change, this ensures we all have the opportunities and support to reach our potential and play our parts in the energy transition.

Yusra Hussain, IT Advisor – Asset Management


Attracting & developing talent

people of group celebrating

Shell in the UK’s ability to thrive through the transition to lower-carbon energy relies on attracting and developing the broadest possible range of talent. This means three things: attracting diverse candidates at different stages in their careers, appealing to different groups of people, and providing the opportunities to develop 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 (BAME) representation in order to attract more diverse people. As a result of these changes, over the last three years, we have recruited 123 graduates from 39 universities and will continue to take a broad perspective in our hiring practices.
  • Completed our second Return to Work Programme for external applicants, which offered people who have taken a career break a flexible route back into the workforce, with a six-month role. The people who participated gained relevant experience, brought fresh perspectives to their teams, and through mentoring and coaching, were also able to re-build their confidence in the workplace. Over the first two years of the programme, we have supported 21 people in their return to work, 57% of whom have continued with us beyond the initial six-month period.
  • 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 to reach their full potential. To support an increase in the number of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) future leaders, we are sponsoring opportunities for our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees to participate in a Development Programme, with 50% of this group comprised of our Black employees.
  • 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 programme of ‘fireside chats’ hosted by leaders from ethnic minorities. These aim to raise visibility of leadership models from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) 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.
  • 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 1,000 schools have taken part in Energy Quest, our half-day STEM workshop run by EngineeringUK. This programme is 50/50 girls and boys, and 53% of workshops reach schools with an above average number of pupils eligible for free school meals.

Finding new ways to attract, engage and hire diverse talent – and through that, achieving better gender balance and diversity – will remain a priority in the years ahead.

Rachel Humphreys

I joined the Shell Return to Work Programme after a four-year career break. It was a rewarding and exciting opportunity, which enabled me to re-immerse myself into professional life. I have been able to both leverage and refresh my existing skills, whilst building new professional experience. The support and flexibility have been invaluable in making my return to the workplace not just feasible but enjoyable and worthwhile.

Rachel Humphreys, IT Project Manager


External partnerships

Men's laughing with hand up
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 and organisations 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, comprising eight leading CEOs from the UK’s energy sector. We meet every quarter to drive progress within the sector. 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 (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.
  • 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 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 their 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.