FEMALE staff at Royal Dutch Shell earn more than a fifth less than their male colleagues, the oil giant has revealed.

The FTSE 100 group’s gender pay gap report showed a difference of 22.2 per cent on average for male and female employees in the UK.

But it said it was “confident we have equal pay” and stressed the gap was largely down to the lack of women in senior management roles and higher-paid technical and trading jobs.

Just 33 per cent are female, it said.

It marks the latest damning report on the gender pay gap after budget airline easyJet reported on Monday that female staff earned 45.5 per cent less than male employees.

The Bank of England also recently reported a gender pay gap of 21 per cent.

Sinead Lynch, Shell’s UK chairman, said: “Equal pay ensures men and women are paid equally for work of equal value.

“Through our robust and non-discriminatory pay processes, we are confident we have equal pay, however, we do have a gender pay gap.”

Its report comes after new Government rules were introduced requiring all UK companies and public sector organisations with 250 or more employees to publicly report their gender pay gap for the year to April 2017.

Shell admitted it had “some way to go” to address the gender balance in its workforce, but said it was making progress with a 12 per cent increase in the number of women managers since 2005 and 47 per cent of graduate positions now held by women.

Ronan Cassidy, chief human resources and corporate officer at Shell, said: “Are we where we aspire to be? No.

“But we should recognise the significant progress we have made, especially the marked change in gender balance at recruitment and the increase in senior leadership representation, and draw confidence from that for the future.”

The company said action would include tackling the “root causes of imbalance” and wider societal issues, with women representing around one-fifth of all employees in the oil and gas sector. Shell’s plans also include “sponsoring and engaging in STEM programmes for girls.