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Our people

Performing competitively in the evolving energy system requires competent and empowered people working safely together across Shell.

Our people are essential to the successful delivery of Shell’s strategy and to sustaining business performance over the long term. Strong engagement helps us to accelerate our people’s development, enhance our leadership capabilities and improve employee performance.

In 2021

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    employees at December 31, 2021

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    countries in which we operate

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    formal training days for employees and joint-venture partners

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    Female employees

    female employees

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    women on the Board of Directors

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    Executive Committee

    women on the Executive Committee

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    Senior leaders

    women in senior leadership positions

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    Experienced hires

    experienced people joined Shell (34% female)

  • Operations centre hires

    recruited for Shell Business Operations centres (51%% female)

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    Graduate hires

    graduate hires (47% female)

[A] All metrics except the employees’ metric exclude the employees in certain Upstream, Renewables and Energy Solutions and Downstream companies that maintain their own HR systems.

Employee overview

The employee numbers presented here are the full-time equivalent number of people employed by Shell on a full- or part-time basis, working in Shell subsidiaries, Shell-operated joint operations, seconded to non-Shell-operated joint operations, or joint ventures and associates.

At December 31, 2021, there were a total of 82,000 employees at Shell. This total consisted of employees at Shell and employees at certain Upstream, Downstream and Renewables and Energy Solutions companies that operate more autonomously than other Shell subsidiaries and maintain their own HR systems. There were a total of 87,000 employees at December 31, 2020, and December 31, 2019.

In August, we launched our new organisational structure as part of the Reshape initiative. This new structure was created with the aim of reducing costs and making us a more competitive organisation that is agile and better able to respond to customers.

The Reshape initiative in 2021 involved job reductions in line with our expectation that around 8,000 jobs will be reduced by the end of 2022. As a result of different notice periods in various markets, people are continuing to leave until the end of 2022. In certain markets, we provided the opportunity for selected voluntary severance (SVS), in order to reduce the number of enforced redundancies. We have around 3,000 people that are leaving on SVS.

We have sought at all times to conduct the job reductions process in accordance with our core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people. We have constantly sought to show care for anyone losing their role.

Throughout the Reshape process, we have aimed to support those facing job reductions by helping them to find and engage with internal and external opportunities to reskill and upskill. We introduced a global minimum standard for outplacement. This ensured that all employees who were leaving Shell had access to an independent professional career coach who could offer individualised support.

The proportion of voluntary resignations in Shell was 4.4% in 2021 compared with 2.6% in 2020. The rate is low across a range of industries.

The table below shows actual employee numbers by geographical area. Note 27 to the “Consolidated Financial Statements” provides the average number of employees by business segment.

Actual number of employees by geographical area

























North America




South America








In 2021, a total of 271,000 formal training days were provided for employees and joint-venture partners, compared with 234,000 in 2020 and 373,000 in 2019. The increase was caused by the rise in the availability of virtual courses as we rapidly digitalised, enabling people to attend virtually. This allowed us to continue to invest in people and capabilities, while maintaining our focus on safety.

We have migrated to virtual courses and their uptake has increased from 2020, when people were still new to the virtual ecosystem. In 2021, learners embraced the virtual courses. This shows in the increase in the number of completions and the corresponding rise in training person days (TPD) of 37,000 compared with 2020.

Employee communication and involvement

Management regularly engages with our employees, including internally elected employee representatives, through a range of formal and informal channels. These include webcasts and all-staff messages from our Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Ben van Beurden, senior leader webcasts, town halls, team meetings, virtual coffee/chai connects, interviews with Senior Management, and online publications via our intranet. In 2021 Board members had virtual staff engagements and visited some sites such as Qatar, Shell Pernis, and Pennsylvanian Chemicals park to have direct engagement with staff.

For further information on stakeholder engagement, see “Governance”.

The Shell People Survey is one of the principal tools used to measure employee engagement, motivation, affiliation and commitment to Shell. It provides insights into employees’ views and has had a consistently high response rate. In 2021, the response rate was 83%, a decrease of 3.1 percentage points compared with 2020. This decrease was probably because of the timing of the survey, as many employees who were invited to take part were on a notice period before exiting Shell because of the Reshape reorganisation. Employees who are about to leave typically have a lower response rate than those who plan to stay with a company. The average employee engagement score was 75 points out of 100. This is a decrease of three points compared with 2020 but still reflects the resilience of our people in a year of change. This result gives Shell one of the leading employee engagement scores across a range of industries. The employee engagement score is based on a well-researched and validated model that combines satisfaction, motivation, affiliation, loyalty and dedication.

We provide our people with what they need to work in our offices and other locations, with flexibility for staff based on their reasonable business and personal needs. We also seek to provide what they need if they are working remotely. We enable, develop and improve their leadership qualities through global learning programmes, short- and long-term international assignments, and offering the possibility of moving between roles in different parts of the organisation. We help to increase the appeal of working for Shell through flexible working options, supportive policies such as a global minimum maternity leave of 16 weeks, regular engagements between management and employees, and career development tools such as individual development plans, coaching and formal training.

In 2021, we continued to support our people and assist in the fight against COVID-19. We continued our home-working ergonomics programme, providing funding for proper office equipment for home use for 5,000 employees in addition to the 50,000 we assisted in 2020. This included offering funding to new joiners for home-use office equipment. We also provided tips on setting up and maintaining good ergonomics, working with others virtually and maintaining productivity. Our Real Estate teams developed guidance on returning to site safely for all of our locations.

During and before the pandemic, we invested in the mental well-being of our employees through programmes such as World Mental Health Day, I’m Not Okay and the One Thing Wall. We also provided resources for our employees under the Care-for-Self programme.

Shell is one of more than 800 companies to have signed the Neptune Declaration, an international agreement sponsored by the Global Maritime Forum, promising to support seafarers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The support has included providing access to vaccines.

Diversity, equity and inclusion

Our ambition is to become one of the most diverse and inclusive organisations in the world, a place where everyone – including employees, customers, partners and suppliers – feels valued and respected and has a strong sense of belonging. We believe that by achieving this ambition, we will contribute to a better and more equal world. We will also become a stronger organisation, with a richness of experience and views to guide us.

Living by our values

Our approach starts with living up to our core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people. These standards are set out in the Shell General Business Principles and our Code of Conduct. We want everyone to have a strong sense of belonging, irrespective of our differences. We launched two mandatory training courses for all staff in 2021: Respect in the Workplace and Conscious Inclusion. These will help us to continue to embed inclusive behaviours in our culture.

Powering lives DE&I commitments

We are focusing on removing barriers and creating equality of opportunity in four strategic priority areas: gender; race and ethnicity; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+); and enablement and disabilities inclusion, as set out in our powering lives commitments to diversity and inclusion.

Shell is working towards achieving 35% representation of women in our senior leadership positions by 2025 and 40% by 2030.

We aim to increase racial and ethnic representation across our workforce so that we better reflect the communities in which we work and live.

At Shell, we seek to provide a safe, caring and inclusive environment for LGBT+ and PWD (people with disabilities) staff so that they can be themselves and reach their full potential.


Our CEO Ben van Beurden is a Catalyst CEO Champion for Change. Like more than 70 other CEOs he has made an organisational and personal commitment to accelerate the advancement of women, including women of colour, into senior leadership and board positions. Shell also endorsed the World Economic Forum Call to Action on closing the gender gap in the oil and gas sector.

We aim to meet or exceed the target set by the external, UK-based Hampton-Alexander Review of having 33% female Board membership, progressing towards 50% or more representation. We have achieved this target. Currently six out of 12 of our Board members are women.

In an industry where women have been traditionally underrepresented, three of our five largest energy-trading divisions are led by women.

In October, Zoë Yujnovich was appointed Upstream Director, joining Jessica Uhl, the Chief Financial Officer as the second woman on the eight-person Executive Committee.

In 2021, 47% of our graduate recruits were female, compared with 49% in 2020. As of December 31, 2021, the proportion of women in senior leadership positions was 29.5% (this value includes leavers still in the HR System). This was just short of our ambition to have 30% representation of women in our senior leadership positions by 2021, but it was also an increase of 1.7 percentage points compared with the end of 2020. “Senior leadership positions” comprises our top 1,250 leaders and is a Shell measure based on salary group levels and is distinct from the term “senior manager” in the statutory disclosures in the table below.

Gender diversity data (at December 31, 2021)

Gender diversity data



Directors of the Company





Senior managers [A]





Employees (thousand)






Senior manager is defined in section 414C(9) of the Companies Act 2006 and, accordingly, the number disclosed comprises the Executive Committee members who were not Directors of the Company, and other directors of Shell subsidiaries.

Race and ethnicity

We are working to address racial inequity. We seek to ensure everyone at Shell has equal opportunities and feels included. In 2020, we created the Shell Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Council for Race, supported by a 20-member Employee Advisory Board composed of members from a diverse mix of racial and ethnic backgrounds. Sponsored by our CEO Ben van Beurden, Integrated Gas, Renewables and Energy Solutions Director Wael Sawan and Legal Director Donny Ching, the council aims to advance diversity in our workforce so that it better reflects communities where we work and from which we draw talent. Externally, in the USA, we work closely with the civil rights organisation National Urban League. In the UK, Shell was one of the first signatories to the Race at Work Charter of the Business in The Community organisation. We are part of Black Representation in Marketing (BRiM), a UK initiative to improve the representation of black people in marketing.

As of December 31, 2021, 8% of our Board members were from an ethnic minority.

In the USA:

  • In 2021, 65% of our US employees were white; 33.2% were people of colour, with 13% Asian, 11.8% Hispanic/Latino, 8.4% black, and 1.8% in the Other category.
  • We are launching mandatory anti-racism training for all US staff.

In the UK:

  • In 2021, 78.5% of our UK employees identified as white and 21.5% were from an ethnic minority background. Our ethnic minority employees identified as Asian (13.1%), black (3.4%), mixed (2.4%) or another ethnic background (2.6%). As ethnicity declaration is voluntary, our ethnicity declaration rate is not 100% and all calculations are based on a declaration rate of 81%. The 19% of our workforce who have not provided data or have chosen not to declare their ethnicity were not included in our calculations.
  • We have set a recruitment ambition to have 8% black representation in our graduate and experienced hires by 2025, to increase representation in line with UK society through actions such as mentoring and outreach.
  • We co-sponsored the UK 2021 Race at Work survey conducted by the membership organisation Business in the Community.
  • Shell in the UK was one of the first FTSE 100 companies to voluntarily publish ethnicity pay gap data in November 2020.

In the Netherlands, we began implementing our first Ethnic Inclusion action plan and established an employee sounding board to support this process.

We are focusing on the USA, UK and Netherlands because these are the Shell hubs where we see the most significant opportunities for representation and inclusion of minority staff.


We are working to advance LGBT+ inclusion within Shell. We promote equal opportunity and create an environment where people feel included, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. Our approach reinforces respect for people and provides psychological safety for our LGBT+ employees in line with our core values. Most of our work around LGBT+ inclusion happens at a country level in line with local policies, laws and regulations. Shell is active in external organisations and activities that advance LGBT+ inclusion.

We benchmark ourselves externally, with consistent top-tier results. In 2021, in the USA we earned a perfect score of 100 points in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index, a recognition we have earned annually since 2016. Shell was rated as a top employer in the Workplace Pride Global Benchmark 2021 survey, with a score of 92.4%. We have also pledged support for the UN Standards of Conduct for Business that aim to eliminate discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

Shell has a global LGBT+ forum consisting of LGBT+ colleagues and allies. The forum now has 14 chapters globally. The LGBT+ focus area is sponsored by Chief Financial Officer Jessica Uhl. Jessica Uhl was included in the OUTstanding 2021 Ally Executives Role Model List, which recognises business leaders who help create more inclusive workplaces. Two of our LGBT+ colleagues were featured in the OUTstanding 2021 LGBT+ Future Leaders List.

Enablement and disability inclusion

We are creating an environment where people with disabilities can excel. We provide support and make adjustments for people with disabilities during the recruitment process and throughout their careers with Shell. This includes equal access to valuable educational resources, training programmes, and emphasis on personal and professional development. In the UK, we partnered with PurpleSpace to launch a personal development programme called “Empowered and enABLED” to support employees with disabilities to build inner confidence, develop a sense of community and advocate for any adjustments or accommodations they require. In December 2021, we also launched a LinkedIn learning path called “Spotlight – Disability Inclusion: A Guide for Line Managers.” This collection of learning resources helps Shell line managers to become more confident about issues relating to disability inclusion.

Our workplace accessibility (WPA) service currently serves 86 locations globally. Supported by functions such as Shell Health, HR, Real Estate and IT, WPA is designed to ensure that all employees have access to reasonable physical workplace or other adjustments so that they can work effectively and productively. We combined the home-working ergonomics programme with WPA to help all employees including those with disabilities to work from home effectively during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To further support staff with disabilities, we have created internal employee resource groups, including the enABLE networks that support and highlight the work of disabled employees in Shell. First launched in the UK in 2005, we now have 14 enABLE networks globally. In 2021, we formed the Global enABLEMENT Coalition, an internal forum bringing together enABLE networks and functions to create an inclusive, accessible and psychologically safe workplace for people with disabilities. The Enablement and disability inclusion focus area is sponsored by Harry Brekelmans, Projects & Technology Director and Huibert Vigeveno, Downstream Director.

Shell is a member of The Valuable 500, a global business group which seeks to eliminate the exclusion of disabled people and ensure that disability remains a priority for company leaders. Shell belongs to the Business Disability Forum. This is a membership organisation that brings business leaders, disabled people, and government together to understand how to improve the life opportunities and experiences of disabled people in employment, the economy and wider society. We belong to PurpleSpace, a networking and professional development hub for disabled employees, employee network leads and allies from all sectors and trades.

Other diversity and inclusion targets: local national coverage

We track local national coverage. This is the percentage of senior local nationals (those working in their respective base country and those expatriated) against the total number of senior leadership positions in their base country.

Local national coverage (at December 31) [A]


Number of selected key business countries


December 31, 2021

December 31, 2020

December 31, 2019

Greater than 80%




Less than 80%









These numbers exclude those in companies with their own HR systems.

Code of Conduct

In line with the UN Global Compact Principle 10 (businesses should work against corruption in all its forms, including extortion and bribery), we maintain a global anti-bribery and corruption/anti-money laundering (ABC/AML) programme designed to prevent, detect, remediate and learn from potential violations. The programme is underpinned by our commitment to prohibit bribery, money laundering and tax evasion, and to conduct business in line with our Shell General Business Principles and Code of Conduct.

We do not tolerate the direct or indirect offer, payment, solicitation or acceptance of bribes in any form. Facilitation payments are also prohibited. The Shell Code of Conduct includes specific guidance for Shell staff, (which comprises employees and contract staff), on requirements to avoid or declare actual, potential or perceived conflicts of interest, and on offering or accepting gifts and hospitality.

Regular communications from our leaders emphasise the importance of these commitments and compliance with requirements. These are reinforced with both global and targeted messages to ensure that Shell staff are kept reminded of their obligations. To support the Code of Conduct, we have mandatory risk-based procedures and controls that address a range of compliance risks and ensure that we focus resources, reporting and attention appropriately. By making a commitment to our core values of honesty, integrity and respect for people, and by following the Code of Conduct, we protect Shell’s reputation.

In 2021, the continuing COVID-19 pandemic brought additional focus on conduct risk, which arises from human behaviour, influenced by factors in the external environment. Our core values are undermined if decisions are taken which fall short of the expected standards of ethical behaviour and compliance. Our response to the pandemic remains to reiterate and emphasise that adherence to Shell’s compliance rules (including the Code of Conduct) remains essential to protecting our business and helping us to make the right decisions for the future. While maintaining this basic position, pragmatic, risk-based mitigations have been implemented where appropriate to increase response speed and efficiency without undermining the intended purpose of our controls.

Our ethics and compliance requirements are articulated through our policies, standards and procedures and supported by the Ethical Decision-Making Framework, a tool to help staff think through and discuss, in a structured way, the legal, ethical and external consequences of decisions. They are communicated to Shell employees and contract staff and, where necessary and appropriate, to agents and business partners. We monitor and report internally on adherence to select ethics and compliance requirements, such as mandatory training completion and due diligence screening. We pay particular attention to our due diligence procedures when dealing with third parties. We also make our requirements clear to third parties through a variety of measures such as standard contract clauses. We offer a good practice anti-bribery and corruption e-learning course to third parties that may not have a training programme in place. We publish our Ethics and Compliance Manual on to demonstrate our commitment in this area.

The Shell Ethics and Compliance Office helps the businesses and functions to implement the ABC/AML and other programmes, assess risks and monitors and reports on progress. Legal counsel provides legal advice globally and supports the implementation of programmes. The Shell Ethics and Compliance Office regularly reviews and revises all ethics and compliance programmes to ensure they remain up to date with applicable laws, regulations and best practices. This includes incorporating results from relevant internal audits, reviews and investigations, and periodically commissioning external reviews and benchmarking.

We investigate all good-faith allegations of breaches of the Code of Conduct, however they are raised. We are committed to ensuring all such incidents are investigated by specialists in accordance with our Investigation Principles. Allegations may be raised confidentially and anonymously through several channels, including a Shell Global Helpline operated by an independent provider.

Allegations of breaches of the Code of Conduct may be raised confidentially and anonymously through several channels, including the Shell Global Helpline, which is operated by an independent provider. In 2021, there were 1,479 entries to the Shell Global Helpline: 1,177 allegations and 302 inquiries. The Business Integrity Department is a specialist investigative unit within Shell Internal Audit that is responsible for managing the Shell Global Helpline and the Group level incident management procedures. The Board has delegated the oversight of the functioning of the Shell Global Helpline to the Audit Committee. The Audit Committee is also authorised to establish and monitor the implementation of procedures for the receipt, retention, proportionate and independent investigation and follow-up action of reported matters.

Violation of the Code of Conduct or its policies can result in disciplinary action, up to and including contract termination or dismissal. In some cases, we may report a violation to the relevant authorities, which could lead to legal action, fines or imprisonment.

Internal investigations confirmed 181 substantiated breaches of the Code of Conduct in 2021. As a result, we dismissed or terminated the contracts of a total of 67 employees and contract staff.

Employee share plans

We have a number of share plans designed to align employees’ interests with our performance through share ownership. For information on the share-based compensation plans for Executive Directors, see the “Directors’ Remuneration Report”.

Performance Share Plan, Long-term Incentive Plan and exchanged awards under the BG Long-term Incentive Plan

Under the Performance Share Plan (PSP), 50% of the award is linked to certain indicators described in “Performance indicators”, averaged over the performance period. For 2018 to 2019, 12.5% of the award was linked to free cash flow (FCF) and the remaining 37.5% was linked to a comparative performance condition which involves a comparison with four of our main competitors over the performance period, based on three performance measures. For 2020, 11.25% of the award was linked to the FCF measure and 5% was linked to an energy transition measure. The remaining 33.75% was linked to the comparative performance condition. From 2021, 10% of the award is linked to the FCF measure and 10% is linked to an energy transition measure. The remaining 30% is linked to the comparative performance condition.

Under the Long-term Incentive Plan (LTIP) awards made in 2018, 25% of the award is linked to the FCF measure and the remaining 75% is linked to the comparative performance conditions mentioned above. For 2019 and 2020, 22.5% of the award is linked to the FCF measure and 10% is linked to an energy transition measure. The remaining 67.5% is linked to the comparative performance condition mentioned above. From 2021, 20% of the award is linked to the FCF measure and 20% is linked to an energy transition measure. The remaining 60% is linked to the comparative performance condition.

Separately, following the BG acquisition, certain employee share awards made in 2015 under BG’s Long-term Incentive Plan were automatically exchanged for equivalent awards over shares in the Company. The outstanding awards take the form of nil-cost options.

Under all plans, all shares that vest are increased by an amount equal to the notional dividends accrued on those shares during the period from the award date to the vesting date. In certain circumstances, awards may be adjusted before delivery or subject to clawback after delivery. None of the awards result in beneficial ownership until the shares vest.

See Note 22 to the “Consolidated Financial Statements”.

Restricted Share Plan

Under the Restricted Share Plan, awards are made on a highly selective basis to senior staff. Shares are awarded subject to a three-year retention period. All shares that vest are increased by an amount equal to the notional dividends accrued on those shares during the period from the award date to the vesting date. In certain circumstances, awards may be adjusted before delivery or subject to clawback after delivery.

Global Employee Share Purchase Plan

Eligible employees in participating countries may participate in the Global Employee Share Purchase Plan. This plan enables them to make contributions from net pay towards the purchase of the Company’s shares at a 15% discount to the market price, either at the start or at the end of an annual cycle, whichever date offers the lower market price.

UK Shell All Employee Share Ownership Plan

Eligible employees of participating Shell companies in the UK may participate in the Shell All Employee Share Ownership Plan, under which monthly contributions from gross pay are made towards the purchase of the Company’s shares. For every six shares purchased by the employee, one matching share is provided at no cost to the employee.

UK Sharesave Scheme

Eligible employees of participating Shell companies in the UK have been able to participate in the UK Sharesave Scheme. Options have been granted over the Company’s shares at market value on the invitation date. These options are normally exercisable after completion of a three-year or five-year contractual savings period. From 2017 no further grants were made under this plan.

Separately, following the acquisition of BG, certain participants in the BG Sharesave Scheme chose to roll over their outstanding BG share options into options over the Company’s shares. The BG option price (at a discount of 20% to market value) was converted into an equivalent Company option price at a ratio agreed with HM Revenue and Customs. These options are normally exercisable after completion of a three-year contractual savings period. As of December 31, 2021, there are no outstanding UK Sharesave or BG Sharesave options.

Powering Progress share award

This was a one-off share award granted to all eligible employees of Shell on June 18, 2021. This award supports employee engagement in the Powering Progress strategy. These awards vest at the end of a one-year period. All shares that vest are increased by an amount equal to the notional dividends accrued on those shares during the period from the award date to the vesting date.

Strategic Report signed on behalf of the Board

/s/ Linda M. Coulter

Linda M. Coulter

Company Secretary
March 9, 2022

free cash flow
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Long-term Incentive Plan
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Performance Share Plan
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