Gender balance

gender balance

Gender balance

What is the issue?

Women in business are often under-represented, particularly at leadership levels. To achieve a better balance of genders, companies need to invest in removing the barriers to equal opportunity for men and women.

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Why is it important?

A gender-balanced workforce is a better workforce. Diversity sparks creativity by bringing together different perspectives and attitudes. A workforce with a balance of genders also makes better decisions, because it more closely reflects the market it serves. This is why we strive to create a business culture that provides equal opportunities for women and men at every level of our business.


  • Achieved
  • By 2015 - Increase the proportion of female managers to 40%.

A more equal and inclusive society.


A more diverse workforce better equipped to make effective business decisions.

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What are we doing about it?

We don’t use quotas to create artificial gender balance in our workforce. Instead, we encourage a natural balance of genders, by creating an inclusive workplace that allows both men and women to be successful across our organisation.

Our managers take part in awareness sessions and develop specific action plans to improve the gender balance in their particular area. To address the barriers to workplace equality, we support flexible working opportunities and career paths for women. We inspire talented women to progress in their careers by providing personalised development and career plans. We celebrate International Women’s Day, have a diversity champion and role models across the organisation.

Nestlé has been hugely supportive of my progress through the organisation throughout my changing life circumstances. As I have had children, work-life balance has become ever more important to me. By engaging in open and honest conversations with employees, I believe Nestlé will continue to help more women find their route to the roles they aspire to.
Fiona Barker, Strategic Planning Manager – Beverages, Nestlé UK & Ireland


Raising awareness

Between 2013 and 2015, we rolled-out a number of successful initiatives to support and raise awareness of gender balance. These included:

• Flexible working policies in UK head office locations to help all employees achieve a better work-life balance.
• Gender balance awareness training for all senior managers.
• An HR analytics project to give a better insight on the factors that affect gender balance throughout the organisation.
• A holistic wellness strategy to support the physical and mental wellbeing of our employees, including how to tailor support for different genders.
• A pilot mentoring scheme which took into account the specific needs of different mentees.


of our managers are female.

Our gender balance in 2015

In 2015, we achieved our goal of increasing the proportion of female managers to 40%. We recognise there is still work to do in gender balance, particularly at senior management level.



three women at a desk having a meeting with a laptop in the middle  

Supporting talented women

Women are under-represented at senior leadership level at Nestlé. To address this problem, we have developed personalised career and development plans for women on succession plans for our most senior roles. For example, career plans might include a cross-functional move, an international assignment, or an international mentor, depending on the employee’s personal requirements.

What we hear from our talented women is that they prefer this personalised approach to a one-size-fits-all solution based purely on their gender.

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What’s next?

We are continuing to explore ways of creating a more inclusive culture as we move into 2016. One example is tackling unconscious bias in the workplace.

Research has found that unconscious bias can heavily influence people’s decisions. Studies show that some managers may act on these biases in favour of male candidates, and that this can make them less likely to hire women and invest in their development.

In 2016, we will address this issue by incorporating unconscious bias training into our talent and succession planning processes, including at the Market Coordination Committee level.

Other areas of focus include:

• Ensuring that gender balance is reflected in the way we communicate and do business.
• Raising awareness of gender balance issues such as unconscious bias beyond the senior leadership team, and firmly embedding it into all of our practices.
• Continuing to support people to make effective use of flexible working policies.
• Applying a gender focus to our approach to careers and development, ensuring we have balanced succession plans for our key positions and that we retain talented women in our business.
• Continuing to have a fair, gender balanced approach to reward and recognition.
• Ongoing support for our Lean In networks.
• Attracting and selecting more talented women into our business.