Yesterday I received an email from Shell containing more diversity mumbo-jumbo than I thought possible:
We have just celebrated International Women’s Day, when women are recognized for their achievements regardless of age, race or beliefs.
This sentence reads as though it was written by a committee. Why not just stop after “achievements”? What have age, race, and beliefs got to do with women’s day?
The value that women have in the workforce is truly immeasurable.
Is it? Could you not apply the proportion of women in the workforce to the overall value added by the company (“profits”)? Cross-reference this with the total women’s wage bill and you’d have an order of magnitude at least. You could refine things further by assuming whichever women (and men) were involved in writing this press release represented negative value to the tune of their salaries.
At Shell, the unlimited potential in each woman is considered one of our greatest resources.
Considered by whom? I bet investors are a lot more interested in your production rate, reserves, and cash pile. And “unlimited potential in each woman”? Does each man have unlimited potential? Or only those who went to Delft?
They then provide links to various webpages, which contain such gems as:
Shell promotes a culture that is gender balanced. This extends to the way we hire and develop our female talent. We run leadership workshops designed specifically for women.
Nothing says gender equality quite like leadership workshops designed specifically for women.
In the last five years, Shell has increased female representation on our Board of Directors from 8% to 33%. We have also seen the representation of women in senior leadership positions rise from 16% in 2012 to 22% in 2017.
I for one will be extremely interested to see how this pans out. It’s not that I don’t think women can be leaders, it’s that when a company adopts progressive initiatives based on politically-driven social science papers originating in the lunatic fringe of western academia, they’ve lost all perspective. Pepsi’s CEO is Indra Nooyi, an Indian woman, and they pointedly don’t make a big song and dance about it because she is undoubtedly there on merit alone. I worked in and around Shell organisations between 2004 and 2009, and there were plenty of capable women doing very well there, some of whom were in senior positions. There didn’t seem to be any impediment to women back then, they were just fewer in number for the most obvious and natural of reasons. If Shell now believes it’s necessary to artificially inflate the number of women in senior positions in the way they’ve described above, it’s a sign they’re less interested in oil and gas production than social engineering.
For us, this is just the beginning.
The beginning of the end, I suspect. Shell will survive for a long time on its legacy production, reserves, and vast cash pile, but I’d hazard a guess that very little it has done or will do since the oil price crash in 2015 will contribute to its long term future. Applying the “clogs to clogs in three generations” analogy, Shell’s latest generation of whizz-kid managers are eyeing up their next Ferrari while the factory falls into disrepair.
I’ve an inkling I might yet be young enough to write the obituary of Big Oil. As many predicted, their demise won’t be due to a lack of oil in the ground.