Board representation

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Ambition: To maintain or exceed the Parker Review* expectation of having at least one Board member from an ethnic minority from 2021, and then increase that representation to two.

Progress: Shell has met the Parker Review expectation with one board member from an ethnic minority and we aim to increase this to two.

*The Parker Review is an independent UK review which considers how to improve the ethnic and cultural diversity of company boards

Better reflecting and supporting racial equity in our local communities

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Ambition: We aim to increase racial and ethnic representation across our workforce so that we better reflect the communities where we work and live and to support racial and ethnic equity in those communities. We will start in the UK and the USA, followed by the Netherlands with plans that are reflective of local context.

Progress: Each of these three countries have developed a diversity plan reflective of local context. The plans focus on career development, specifically tackling the potential barriers to attracting, developing and progressing the careers of underrepresented people within Shell, and supporting racial and ethnic equity in our local communities through diversity outreach, workforce development and, where applicable, increased supplier diversity.

Whilst our initial focus has been on the USA, UK and the Netherlands, we also consider race and ethnicity in other countries, where relevant. Many of the programmes we offer around the world are outlined above. Self-ID will provide us with insights to further understand the experiences and challenges facing underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in other countries, where relevant.

Looking deeper at our progress: the UK, USA, and the Netherlands

UK

Ethnic minority groups made up 21.5% of our UK employees who voluntarily self-identifiedand 16.5% of senior leadership positions of those who voluntarily self-identified2
Race/ethnicity

2021 (Employees UK only)

(% of those who self-identified)1

2021 (Senior Leadership UK only)

(% of those who self-identified)2

Asian 13.1 10.8
Black 3.4 1.1
Mixed 2.4 1.7
White 78.5 83.5
Other ethnic minority background 2.6 2.8

Working towards aspirational representation goals are an important part of our broader efforts to support ethnic minority employees. This includes opportunities to participate in reciprocal mentoring, targeted development programmes and providing greater visibility of ethnic minority role models for employees as they navigate their own careers. Shell companies in the UK will continue to hire, retain, and promote people based on merit. By removing potential barriers, seeking to attract diverse candidates, and supporting and developing employees, each business in the UK will also work towards improving representation and inclusion of ethnic minority groups in Shell companies in the UK in line with UK society. By removing potential barriers, seeking to attract more diverse candidates, and supporting employee-development, we are working to ensure Shell better represents UK society.

We continually review our actions and progress to achieve our goal, which is to reflect the communities in which we live and work. By 2025, we are working towards the following to increase representation:
  • We aim for 15% of our senior leadership roles to be held by people from ethnic minority groups. Whilst our senior leadership representation was at 16.5% as of December 2021 and appears above our 15% ambition, the self-declaration rate of this cohort is 67% and therefore does not yet represent the full picture. We continue to focus on increasing declaration rates. 
  • We aspire to increase from 1.1% Black representation in 2021 in our senior leadership roles to 3% by 2025.
  • An aspiration of 8% of our graduate and experienced hires to be Black.

Driving inclusion in our communities: Shell was one of the first organisations to sign up to the Business in The Community Race at Work Charter. It was launched in 2018 to help organisations take practical steps to help tackle ethnic disparities in the workplace. We are also part of Black Representation in Marketing (BRiM), a UK initiative to improve the representation of Black people in marketing. 

Shell was one of the first FTSE 100 companies to voluntarily publish UK ethnicity pay gap data and will continue to do so as part of our commitment to shine a spotlight where it is needed and ensure an inclusive workplace for all. We continue to advocate for greater transparency externally on ethnicity pay data, for example, through our participation in Business in the Community’s race equality leadership team, to provide strategic guidance, share expertise and experience, and shape the agenda for action for businesses. Read our 2021 Diversity pay gap report to find out more.

1As ethnic declaration is voluntary, ethnicity declaration rate is not 100% and all calculations are based on a declaration rate of 81% in the UK as of December 2021. The 19% of our workforce who have not provided data or have chosen not to declare their ethnicity were not included in our calculations.

2As ethnic declaration is voluntary, ethnicity declaration rate is not 100% and all calculations are based on a declaration rate of 67% for employees in senior leadership positions in the UK as of December 2021. The 33% of our workforce who have not provided data or have chosen not to declare their ethnicity were not included in our calculations.

USA

At the end of 2021, race and ethnic minority groups made up 35% of our employees in the USA and 26.7% of senior leadership.

Race/ethnicity 2021 (% employees, USA only) 2021 (% Senior Leadership, USA only)
Asian 13 10.5
Black or African American 8.4 7.9
Hispanic Latino 11.8 7.5
White 65 73.2
All other racial and ethnic groups* 1.8 0.8

In 2022, we set an ambition of 10% Black or African American representation and 10% Hispanic Latino representation in senior leadership positions by 2025. This compares to 7.9% and 7.5% respectively at the end of 2021. We will publish our data every year between now and 2025, so you can see our progress.

In the USA, our plans focus on increasing the representation and talent pipeline of Black people and other people of colour, subject to compliance with local legislation. Among other activities, we are incorporating Racial Inclusion and Intervention training for all senior leaders in the USA and hosting a reciprocal mentoring programme (i.e. where diverse staff share their experiences, knowledge and insight about race and ethnicity for senior member learning and growth, and senior leaders provide traditional mentoring and coaching in return). We are also increasing our representation of diverse employees on external partnership boards, which has two benefits: providing staff with rich development opportunities and ensuring external boards benefit from more diverse perspectives.

Powering Lives in the USA: We work closely with several organisations in the USA advocating for a more equitable society. These include the National Urban League, one of the largest and oldest civil rights organisations in the country, and UnidosUS, which focuses on Latino civil rights and advocacy. These relationships allow us to be active partners in driving positive change.

Shell is investing in Supplier Diversity in the USA to help capable, historically under-represented businesses grow into the suppliers our industry needs to meet the energy needs of tomorrow. This work is helping to change the profile of our supply chain to reflect and uplift the communities where we live and work.

We are also helping to build a more diverse talent pipeline through our Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) partnerships and programmes. We work with students, parents and teachers, from kindergarten through to twelfth grade, as well as two-year and four-year college programmes, to raise awareness of STEM careers. And finally, our employees take part in diversity outreach efforts that provide support and resources for more sustainable economic vitality and crucial services to our local communities.

*”Other racial and ethnic groups” includes the following: American Indian or Alaskan Native; Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander; two or more races.

The Netherlands

In the Netherlands we launched our first annual Ethnic-Inclusion action plan in 2020 to improve inclusion and representation of ethnic minorities in our local community. To ensure the plan reflects the needs and experiences of our staff, as well as best practice externally, we set up an employee and external sounding board to test and refine our strategy.

We launched voluntary Self-ID (see above) in October 2022 to allow us to better track our progress with data insights, as well as better understand different groups’ experiences, identify strengths that we can continue to build on, and identify opportunities for improvement. By better understanding who we are, we can work towards where we want to be.

We have also rolled out Ethnic-Inclusion training for team leaders and launched reciprocal mentoring programmes for our leaders, where they are mentored by colleagues from ethnic minority backgrounds.

Collaborating with others: we are working with our key suppliers to ensure they understand Shell’s DE&I ambitions and expectations. This includes setting up DE&I supplier questionnaires, co-creating improvement initiatives and integrating DE&I metrics into appraisals. Together these actions are helping their staff support and build an inclusive culture across Shell’s offices and sites in the Netherlands.

Improving inclusion in our local communities: as well as improving DE&I within Shell, we also want to make a positive impact in the communities where we operate. Examples include:

  • We partner with several foundations that connect young people from minority ethnic groups to companies, including Shell. Together with Shell volunteers we provide coaching, training, guided tours, workshops and inspirational careers sessions.
  • The Shell Learning Programme for Refugee Talent focuses on training and employment opportunities for refugees. The programme, which also helps address a talent shortage in our IT Software Engineering team, is now being expanded across multiple businesses within Shell to break down potential barriers to refugees joining the workforce.

For more information, you can review our full DE&I data table here.

Learn more about Race & Ethnicity at Shell

Read more about DE&I at Shell

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