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Flexible Work . Equal Pay . Leadership Development
Flexible Working Arrangements
Equal Pay Initiatives
Paid Parental Leave
Leadership Development Programs
Raise Numbers of Women in Leadership
At AkzoNobel, a diverse and inclusive workplace means creating an organization where people feel included, respected and fully engaged.
We rely on the exceptional talent of 33,000 colleagues from over 120 nationalities. Based in locations across the globe, they’re united by a single purpose – pioneering a world of possibilities to bring surfaces to life. To achieve this and our other strategic ambitions we know we need a high-performing workforce that truly reflects our customer base and the communities we operate in. That’s why we’re continuing to focus on creating a diverse and inclusive working environment where our people feel safe and empowered to be their true selves.
We’re proud to be building a diverse and inclusive company where we can all perform at our best and support others in their success. By becoming a more inclusive employer, great people will want to work here who can help drive us forward and understand – and anticipate – the changing needs and expectations of our customers.
Our plans and initiatives are focused around three key commitments:
- Fostering an inclusive culture
- Expanding our diversity and inclusion networks
- Strengthening our leadership diversity and focus on gender balance
As part of our commitment to creating an equal and fair workplace for all our employees, our CEO Thierry Vanlancker recently signed the UN Global Compact and UN Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP). Now guiding our efforts to advance gender equality within our business are these seven principles:
- Leadership Promotes Gender Equality
- Equal Opportunity, Inclusion, and Nondiscrimination
- Health, Safety and Freedom from Violence
- Education and Training
- Enterprise Development, Supply Chain and Marketing Practices
- Community Leadership and Engagement
- Transparency, Measuring and Reporting
It’s a thorough framework that’ll help us determine what actions we need to take to make headway on closing the gender gap for good. To learn more about the WEP.
To benefit from a diverse environment, it’s important that we’re all aware that others perceive and experience the world differently. That’s what fostering an inclusive culture is all about.
Unconscious bias training
Our success in creating a diverse and inclusive work environment depends on the support and understanding of our people. To help enable this, all employees must take part in unconscious bias training as part of their onboarding. This training explains what unconscious bias is, how it can impact others and how to guard against it. So far, more than 89% of our online population have completed the training and we have a rollout plan in place to address those without an active email address.
Positive change starts with people managers
We know that the leaders in our organization play a pivotal role in shaping culture. We believe that positive change starts with our people managers role modelling inspiring behaviors so we created the “I Belong” guide to provide ideas and examples of how leaders can create an environment where everyone feels included. This has been translated into 16 different languages and includes ways for managers to share learnings with their teams.
Supporting diversity and inclusion
We’ve developed a toolkit that explains what diversity and inclusion means, why it’s important, what we’re doing about it and how to support it.
Our mentoring platform is one of the ways we’re supporting diversity and inclusion. It connects employees from all over the world and creates a space for them to develop themselves and for leaders to learn. Our SpeakUp! reporting website is also aligned with our diversity and inclusion aims and enables our employees to raise concerns about violations of our Code of Conduct in a confidential manner.
One of our key areas of focus is to increase the share of women across all levels of the organization. Our Business Unit and Function leaders have been assigned targets to hit by the end of 2021 which will form the basis of a longer-term approach. To enable this, it’s confirmed that senior leaders are accountable, managers are responsible and Human Resources will support the achievement of the targets.
Committed to change
We have a very ambitious plan, but we’re committed to change. We’re fully aware that setting targets is just a starting point. In parallel to this we need to create a culture that welcomes more women into the workplace and an infrastructure that makes them want to stay.
We’re working in close collaboration with our Women Inspired Network, who act as the linking pin between women’s interests and AkzoNobel’s initiatives. Examples of initiatives include the setting up of a hybrid working policy, promoting lateral moves to incentivize women to try different areas of our organization and asking senior leaders to mentor women from different levels.
AkzoNobel is part of the European Round Table for Industry (ERT). We submit our global figures for female representation in leadership positions and at an executive level to them on an annual basis. We have a target of 30% female representation at senior executive level by 2025.
Talent acquisition is key
Female talent representation at the levels feeding into our senior executive positions is important if we’re going to reach our target of 30% representation by 2025. As a result, various actions are being taken to ensure there are suitable female candidates to succeed at the senior executive level, including reviewing our retention and development approaches.
Talent acquisition plays a key role, so a 50/50 gender hiring approach was set for some of our functions for the two levels below senior executives. Referral benefits have also been improved, global guidelines for talent acquisition managers have been updated and in-house learning opportunities such as improving interview skills have been made available.
Our Women Inspired Network is one of the ways we’re supporting colleagues to fulfill their career potential. It aims to make sure the experience of all colleagues is equally positive, especially when it comes to recruitment, promotion, talent management and performance. Our global Women Inspired Network connects colleagues around the world through events and sessions on topics related to women in the workplace including inspiring career development stories and conversations about challenges and how to overcome them.
The Women Inspired Network also promotes global events such as the UN initiative #HeforShe, International Women’s Day and breast cancer awareness days. This is a fast-growing network with local Women Inspired Network chapters in locations including the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, US, Brazil, Argentina, Dubai, India, China and Singapore. All follow a local agenda and address local topics, to which all Women Inspired Network members are invited, and learnings are shared.
Focusing on engagement and employee well-being continues to pay off as AkzoNobel receives Top Employer recertification in five key markets: the UK, China, Brazil, the US and the Netherlands.
The Top Employer status 2022 is the ninth for AkzoNobel China and the management team stays strong in commitment to invest in people and people-driven initiatives.
2021 AkzoNobel Employee Week has been held successfully in China on 15 to 17 Nov 2021. As the main slogan of this amazing campaign, Proud People, intends to recognize, engage, and motivate our people through fruitful activities.
Consisted of thematic activities, Organisational Health Index, Employer Value Proposition and Diversity & Inclusion are the main topics in this 3-days campaign, facilitated by offline and online approaches. Hundreds of employees across company participated the event and provided indeed positive feedback about they are BE PROUD of AkzoNobel.
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“There’s something new to learn every day and interesting issues to solve. I also love that one need to think and plan ahead all the time for better future result.”
"I feel very proud to be a member of the AkzoNobel family," says Lee Yen. "My story started in May of 2000 when I joined the company as a laboratory technician in a Quality Control laboratory for Marine, Protective and Yacht Coatings in Singapore. Three years later, I was promoted to Chemist and transferred to the R&D laboratory, where I was given an opportunity to further my studies in Belgium for a year. I was the very first employee at that time to be given such a sponsorship to pursue studies abroad. I'm very grateful that I was able to complete my Master's degree in Material Engineering at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven."
“I have an excellent team and a good working environment- there's no better way to do what you love!”
“At AkzoNobel, I feel I’ve always been treated the same as my male colleagues and relate to many successful women in other roles. Our Women Inspired Network provides an additional forum for us to connect, exchange our thoughts and promote equality. So far in my career, I’ve found my work to be both fun and diverse. I enjoy the dedication, passion and professionalism of the people I work with."
“With the NextGen Sustainability Council, we’re aiming to drive positive change,” says Tessa. “As a group, we bring a lot of enthusiasm and positivity to building awareness and advocating for sustainable development from a ‘younger’ perspective. We’re ready to challenge the thinking within our company and take action to raise the sustainability bar.”
“Female leaders can bring onboard different approaches to problem solving and foster collaborative interactions in a more diverse environment.”
“I love arriving at work with new energy and coping with daily challenges; establishing harmony with people from different backgrounds. It’s an exciting journey and I love every bit of it.”
“When women progress and lead in the workplace, the whole organization benefits. I’m really looking forward to connecting with the women and men of AkzoNobel in this new capacity. We’re all part of creating an environment of confidence and empowerment.” Words too powerful not to share!”