Shell reveals gender pay gap of 22%

Female Shell worker Image copyright Newscast

Oil giant Shell says male staff working for the company on average earn 22% more than women in the UK.

Shell says that despite this, it is confident it pays equally for equal work, and the difference in pay rates is because of a skills gap, rather than sex discrimination.

The UK's biggest company is the latest to report its gender pay gap.

The government now requires bodies with more than 250 employees to publish gender pay gap figures every year.

The data is being added to a government database in an attempt to tackle workplace inequality.

The median UK gender pay gap was 9.1% for the year to April for full-time workers, according to the Office for National Statistics.

The figure has almost halved since the ONS first started collecting figures on the gap in 1997.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Shell says the pay gap is partly because it has fewer female engineers

Shell UK's chairman, Sinead Lynch, said the two main reasons for the gender pay gap were "fewer women in senior leadership positions, and fewer women working in technical or trading roles that attract higher levels of pay".

Shell, which is the largest firm on the UK's FTSE 100 index, says it struggles to attract as many women as men into technical roles which typically pay more.

In a Youtube video posted on Thursday, the company explains that it cannot recruit enough highly skilled female staff as there is an industry-wide shortage.

Image copyright Shell
Image caption The Shell Youtube film breaks down the story

It says that only 16% of engineering graduates in the UK are women.

Equal pay

Shell UK said it was making progress addressing this representation gap.

The percentage of women in senior management roles had risen from 12% to 27% between 2005 and 2017, the firm said.

A traditional skills imbalance was the argument used by the Bank of England, when it revealed last week its male staff were paid almost a quarter more than female employees.

Its median pay gap - based on the midpoints in the ranges of hourly earnings for men and women at the Bank - was 24.2% for the year to 30 March.

It, too, said it was confident men and women were paid equally for doing the same jobs at the Bank, and said it had taken steps to address the issue.

Large UK companies have until April next year to publish their gender pay gaps, but the vast majority are yet to report them.

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