Royal Dutch Shell
With a history dating back to 1833, Royal Dutch Shell is one of the world's leading multinational energy companies, producing 2% of the globe’s oil, and 3% of its gas.
- Good work/life balance and friendly colleagues
- The variety of functions and locations offer a wide range of career options
- Solid benefits, perks and pension
- Political and bureaucratic so the decision making process can be slow
- The promotion system is not meritocratic
- Lack of efficiency – too many employees work the same tasks
It’s hard to believe one of the five largest companies in the world began life selling seashells to British collectors; but this is exactly the case with Royal Dutch Shell. Since its humble beginnings, the company has grown into one of multinational oil’s household names – now providing more than a quarter of the UK’s gas and 16% of its petrol and diesel from 850+ retail sites nationwide.
London antique dealer Marcus Samuel founded Shell, in 1833. And whilst collecting seashells in the Caspian Sea area for his new import venture, he realised the potential in exporting lamp oil from the region. The market soon grew, with the pioneering Shell leading the way in the bulk import of oil. In 1907, the company merged with Royal Dutch Petroleum – a move largely driven by the need to compete globally with the then dominant American petroleum company, John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil. The terms of the merger gave 60% ownership of the new group to the Dutch arm and 40% to the British.
In 1973, when the members of the Organisation of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC) proclaimed an oil embargo, “in response to the US decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war, the company was forced into a policy of diversification and consequently began explorations into coal, nuclear power and metals. And as the oil supply dried up in 1979, triggered by the Iranian revolution and confounded by the Iran-Iraq war, the group took its first steps into developing renewable energy with its acquisition of a 50% stake in Australian solar heating company, Solarhart.
Having been dual listed since the Anglo-Dutch merger, the two holding companies were finally consolidated into one entity in 2005, creating a more transparent structure and bringing the group in line with other private sector oil companies. Royal Dutch Shell’s operations are now divided into exploration and production, gas and power, oil sands, oil products, and chemicals. And reflecting its dual heritage, the group’s registered office is in London, whilst its HQ is in The Hague, The Netherlands.
Like all energy companies, Royal Dutch Shell has been dogged by controversy and criticism over its effect on the environment and health and safety record. While these concerns are probably warranted, to be fair to Royal Dutch Shell, over recent years it has consistently attempted to improve its records and mitigate its effect on the environment. In 1990, the company pledged a 60% reduction in its greenhouse emissions, and in 1997, it made a commitment to sustainable development as part of, ‘The Shell General Business Principles’. Since then, Royal Dutch Shell has invested in alternative fuels, such as biofuels, gas to liquid fuel (GTL), cleaner diesel made from natural gas and biomass, and hydrogen. In more altruistic terms, the company has implemented a series of CSR initiatives, such as the global LiveWIRE youth entrepreneur programme.
Graduates looking to make waves with this oil powerhouse unfortunately don’t have the option of a graduate recruitment scheme. Royal Dutch Shell instead offer job based recruitment, with positions divided into technical roles – geology/geophysics, production technology, process engineering, asset maintenance engineering, project/facilities engineering, reservoir/petroleum engineering etc. – and commercial roles – e.g. finance, contracting and procurement, HR, IT, sales and marketing, supply and distribution, trading.
With the desired role found, applicants have to wade through an online application and two questionnaires. From here, candidates have a choice of a recruitment day – involving exercises, presentations, and a group discussion – or the Gourami business challenge – a week-long residential event. Alternatively, students in their final two under-grad years, can join the firm for anywhere between eight weeks and a year. But whatever your planned route into this petroleum behemoth, you will need to display both analytical and creative ability, coupled with strong technical skills.
Staff worldwide: 93,000
Staff in the UK: 8,600
Annual UK graduate vacancies: 300
Graduate salary: £30,500
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UK Head Office:
2 York Road
London SE1 7NA
Tel:+44 (0) 020 7934 1234