The Nestlé we know today wouldn’t exist without Clementine Therese Ehemant. After Clementine’s husband, Henri Nestlé, invented an infant cereal to save a neighbor’s malnourished child in 1867, she began to market and distribute the cereal beyond their home in Switzerland.
Henri invented the product, but Clementine jumpstarted the business that now, more than 150 years later, is still providing vital nutrition to children and families worldwide.
Women have played critical roles in Nestlé’s success since those earliest days. And we know that hiring — and retaining — female employees will be vital for us to understand our market and to serve consumers in the future. Today, we’re working to create a culture where women can thrive and grow. We offer mentorship programs as professional development and leadership pipelining, along with employee engagement groups that give women additional workplace resources. Our progressive parental leave policy and other workplace flexibility approaches set us apart from our peers. Bloomberg even recently acknowledged such efforts by including us on its 2019 Gender-Equality Index, which gauges the progress of global companies’ equity and inclusion efforts.
Today, we’re building on these investments and sharing the results of our most recent pay equity analysis. The study found that salaries for male and female Nestlé employees have reached a 1:1 gender pay equity at Nestlé USA. This is an important benchmark for us to achieve because nationwide, women continue to earn on average less than men. Our findings apply to Nestlé USA employees, and other U.S. operating companies are conducting similar analyses. This reflects our commitment to being transparent and accountable in our ongoing efforts to create a gender-balanced Nestlé.
Although achieving pay equity is important, we know it is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to building a better workplace for women. We’re also focused on getting more women in leadership positions across Nestlé, a priority in the U.S. and globally. While hiring talent for our new Arlington, Virginia, headquarters in 2018, for instance, we increased the portion of women hired for management roles by more than 50%.
A workplace with the right benefits and support will help us build on these numbers. Our Parent Support Policy offers primary caregivers of either gender 14 weeks of paid parental leave, with the option of an additional 12 weeks of unpaid time off. Nestlé USA also includes a phased return to work so that an employee can choose a transition that works for their family. Additionally, employees can receive a free breast pump and a baby bundle filled with infant care products. The program aims to make it a little easier for parents to balance their families’ needs with their responsibilities at work, which is also critical for us as a company in retaining top talent.
We also have a number of employee engagement groups that offer women at Nestlé support, guidance and camaraderie. Our Gender Balance Network is focused on supporting professional growth opportunities for women. And our Women in Engineering group helps to improve the retention of women in engineering and manufacturing positions, which tend to have more men than women. These peer support groups give women a chance to help one another navigate the opportunities and challenges of their careers while growing professionally. Collectively, these supports and investments reflect a company that knows we’re only as good as our people.
I think Clementine would be proud of these programs. After all, through them we’re helping to empower a new generation of women, who like her, share a commitment to bringing tasty, affordable food to families around the world.
More to explore: