Shell’s UK diversity report reveals significant gender and BAME pay gaps

Royal Dutch Shell’s female employees in Britain earned 18% less on average than their male colleagues in 2020, with the pay gap slightly narrowing from the previous year.

In its annual UK diversity pay gap report, Shell also published – for the first time – data on ethnicity which also revealed that the average pay and bonuses for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) employees was 8.5% lower than non-BAME staff.

The gender pay gap – defined as the difference in the average pay and bonuses of all men and women across an organisation – has narrowed in recent years, however: it stood at 18.7% in 2019, 18.6% in 2018 and 22.2% in 2017.

Women represented just 34% of the energy company’s c 6,000-strong British workforce in 2020, with Shell noting that men have traditionally made up the majority of the workforce in the oil and gas sector.

However, Shell said it had achieved its ambition to have women in 30% of senior positions in the country. BAME employees made up 21% of the workforce.

Shell said the main factor contributing to its ethnicity pay gap is that there are proportionately fewer BAME employees in senior roles which attract higher pay and higher bonuses.

Addressing the discrepancy in BAME pay, Shell said in a statement that it is taking action to increase the representation of ethnic minorities at the company in the UK in line with the relevant UK working population:

“This includes an aim to increase the number of employees recruited from BAME backgrounds and the introduction of recruitment aspirations for Black representation. We will work towards achieving this by expanding the reach of our recruitment campaigns to attract more diverse applicants through external advocacy and outreach work and by sponsoring opportunities for people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.”

Shell added that it is also putting in place new development programmes to support more of our existing BAME employees to progress senior levels, including through mentoring and providing greater visibility of BAME role models.

“While we are making progress in building an inclusive workplace for all, we are not yet where we need to be,’’ said Sinead Lynch, Shell UK country chair. “In a challenging year we have remained focused on closing the gender pay gap.”

“At the same time, we recognise that to create a truly diverse culture in Shell we need to look beyond gender, which is why we are publishing our ethnicity pay gap data for the first time. By being transparent about our performance and holding ourselves to account we want to build a culture that attracts and retains the best talent for Shell in the UK.’’

“It is key for all employers to improve equality of opportunity in the workplace,” added Sandra Kerr, race director at Business in the Community. “By publishing their ethnicity pay gap, Shell demonstrates its commitment to transparency and determination to accelerate change to address inequalities. We urge more companies to follow.”