We continue to make progress towards gender balance. However, we still have a gender pay gap. We are encouraged by the positive movement of our gender pay gap, but we continue to strive to increase the representation of women at the seniority levels and across our businesses and functions in the UK where we have identified that women are under-represented to increase the pace of change. We are improving our policies and practices in the UK and are taking a targeted approach to recruitment and development in the business areas where we face the greatest challenges.

Whilst men and women are paid the same salary for equivalent levels of work, Shell in the UK does still have a gender pay gap and the reasons for this are:

  • 1. More men than women in senior positions

  • 2. Organisational change and our global approach to developing talent

  • 3. Women are under-represented in some specialist roles

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

Senior positions

Increase in the proportion of women in senior UK roles from 12% in 2005, 17.7% in 2008, 19.9% in 2011, 23.4% in 2014, 27.1% in 2017, 30.8% in 2018, 30.2% in 2019, 32.6% in 2020 to 31.8% in 2021.
Increase in the proportion of women in senior UK roles from 12% in 2005, 17.7% in 2008, 19.9% in 2011, 23.4% in 2014, 27.1% in 2017, 30.8% in 2018, 30.2% in 2019, 32.6% in 2020 to 31.8% in 2021.

More men than women in senior positions

There are almost three times as many men than women in the upper and upper middle pay quartiles. This is because, in the past, our industry has employed significantly more men than women, and there have been low levels of staff turnover at Shell in the UK. We continue to modernise our policies and support our employees to manage and develop in their careers, coupled with a focus on recruiting from an expanded diverse talent pool. This has led to an increase in the number of women in senior positions throughout the organisation. The percentage of female senior leaders in the UK has more than doubled from 12% in 2005 to 31.8% by the first quarter of 2021. Although we reached our 2020 UK ambition of 30% female senior leadership representation two years early (in 2018), there is still some way to go towards achieving our global aspirations of 35% female senior leader representation by the end of 2025 and 40% by 2030 as set out in our Powering Lives D&I commitments.

Organisational change

Organisational change and our global approach to developing talent

Each year organisational changes affect our gender pay gap. For many years, Shell in the UK has also transferred UK employees around the world, and colleagues from overseas have moved to the UK to develop their careers. 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 UK voluntary severance exercise and a global review of international assignments. Both factors have affected our gender pay gap this year. During 2020, the economic conditions and our future footprint in the Energy Transition also prompted a global review of our organisation and portfolio to deliver our Powering Progress strategy. This has led to further reductions in the number of employees that work for Shell. While the result of this review is expected to feature in our 2022 gender pay gap disclosure, as we progress through our largest organisation-wide transformation to date, Shell remains committed to driving an inclusive culture.

Women are under-represented

Women Shell worker

Women are under-represented in some specialist roles

We are taking steps to address the under-representation of women in jobs related to science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) subjects as well as trading and upstream. These roles attract higher pay partly because of a shortage of skills and competition in the market. We remain focused on addressing the under-representation of women in these roles by continuing to promote STEM subjects with a range of programmes for women and other less-represented groups. We manage talent in upstream specialist and trader roles through placing gender-neutral job adverts, supporting diverse resourcing panels and encouraging female leaders in trading to share their experiences. We also support women working offshore to drive gender parity, dispel myths, as well as inspire women to pursue STEM-related jobs and which have previously attracted more men than women.

  • Partnering with the Royal Academy of Engineering to create a national network of support for teachers across all STEM subjects
  • Engaging more actively with women studying STEM disciplines at university by partnering with women’s networks on campus and ensuring our campus ambassador teams are gender balanced
  • Amending language in job advertisements and imagery in our recruitment campaigns to attract more women
  • Proactively managing talent by running our Senior Women’s Connect and Women’s Career Development Programmes and strengthening our pipeline through annual reviews
  • Investing a further £1 million in Tomorrow’s Engineers Energy Quest – the national school programme that is helping to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, which we have supported since 2014. Girls who have participated in the programme so far are twice as likely to see engineering careers as desirable, compared to the national average

While we have seen an increase in the number of women joining as graduates, we see more women joining our corporate and commercial disciplines than technical roles. Our focus in the future will be on accelerating the same levels of progress in our technical and trading disciplines.

The way bonuses are calculated

Women with marker and board

The way bonuses are calculated in some of our businesses

Our mean gender bonus gap for Shell in the UK as a whole is almost entirely attributable to our gender bonus gap results for trading. It is common for trading positions to have a higher proportion of variable pay in the form of bonuses tied to individual and business performance. With more men in trading positions at Shell in the UK, this contributes to our gender bonus gap. The bonus gap is then more pronounced in years of strong business performance. There were no bonuses paid to most Shell in the UK employees in 2021, due to challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, however bonuses continued to be paid to employees in our trading business which delivered strong results. We have a proportionately higher representation of men in senior trading roles relative to women, which has contributed to our bonus gap in trading.

jessica uhl testimonial

To lead in the energy transition, we have to find the best solutions through diversity of thought and experience underpinned by a true meritocracy where our people can realise their talents and fulfil their potential.

Jessica Uhl, Chief Financial Officer, Shell plc

Equal pay vs gender pay gap

We are confident we pay men and women equally for work of equal value. We conduct regular analyses 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 a gender pay gap, which is different. That is the difference in the average pay and bonuses of all men and all women 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.