LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell's <RDSa.AS> female employees in Britain earned on average 18.6 percent less than their male colleagues in 2018, the company said in a report on Wednesday, narrowing the gender pay gap from 2017's 22.2 percent.
The difference in earnings between men and women has provoked significant anger among many women in recent years and sparked a public debate in Britain over why pay is still so different for men and women.
"We are confident that we pay men and women equally for work of equal value," the Anglo-Dutch company said in a statement.
"We do have a gender pay gap ... This occurs because we have fewer women than men in senior leader positions, fewer women in specialist roles attracting higher levels of pay and, over many years, relatively fewer women studying engineering at university."
As a result, the average hourly rate for Shell's female employees was lower than male employees in Britain, Shell said.
(Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)