Unilever invests in a female workforce for the future

By Chris BARKER

- Last updated on GMT

Unilever invests in a female workforce for the future

Related tags Time Unilever

Global consumer goods company Unilever have been honoured with the 2013 award for Corporate Empowerment for Women, reflecting the manufacturer’s extensive investment in creating diversity in the workforce.

The firm has been particularly lauded for its work in increasing flexible hours for its employees and developing future leaders, as well as having an extremely diverse talent pool with half of its workers and managers being female.

In Unilver’s diversity statement, women are described as the firm’s “future workforce.”

Kees Kruythoff, president of Unilever North America, commented: “Unilever is honored to receive this award as a testament to our commitment to workplace diversity and nurturing female talent within our organization.”

“We take pride in putting women at the forefront, through program that empower women as current and future leaders, as well as understanding and connecting with female consumers.”

Women are the company's future poll of talent

The company’s business rationale for its women- empowering strategy includes the fact that the majority of cosmetics consumers are women, making this a very important area for the firm to gain insight into.

Diversity is also considered to be an important way of boosting innovation, according to an article by Forbes Insight, because it enables companies to approach problems from two or more points of view.

In addition, more than half of university graduates are now female, and this ratio is only expected to increase by 2025, making this a significant area for the company to invest in to secure future talent.

Unilever specifically seeks to nuture female leadership, with diversity programs which include training and mentoring.

The company stated: “We are seeing some results, with improvements in the number of women in senior positions and the overall diversity of future talent.”

“For example, the proportion of women in management positions increased from 39% in 2011 to 41% in 2012. After  a decade of steady improvement , achieving an increase of more than 1% shows progress- but we recognize that there is still a long way to go.”

Female-friendly programs

An important part of the company’s female-friendly culture is their agile working program, which allows Unilever workers to work flexible hours and even put in time from outside the office, providing their objectives are met.

The program is very useful in allowing women to raise children and pursue a career at the same time, but is also widely used by the rest of the workforce- 48 percent of employees work flexi-hours or telecommute, and 73 percent compress their work week.

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