Sector News

EPCA ’21: Diversity in chemicals industry a top priority that needs work

October 10, 2021
Diversity & Inclusion

The need to promote diversity, equality and inclusion (DEI) goals in the chemicals industry remains a pivotal challenge for the sector.

This was brought into focus at the European Petrochemical Association’s (EPCA) 55th annual event, in a virtual roundtable discussion.

The number of women in the industry has moved up marginally, with associate partner of McKinsey’s Munich office Chantal Lorbeer presenting research, showing a 5% increase in women to the sector.

Promoting further DEI within the industry is also a top corporate goal with Lorbeer highlighting that this is a top priority for 75% of chemicals companies, with the rest of firms considering it in the top 10.

“While D&I is on top of management and HR agendas there is still something missing when cascading down organisation. The further down you go the less of a priority it is, and the less opportunities along the way,” said Lorbeer.

“There are a few crit steps to make diverse talent included: you need a commitment, you need the transparency and tracking, but it is also critical to recruit talent retain and promote then.”

Part of the challenge is getting engagement from people to see the benefits that greater focus on DEI will bring, as LyondellBasell vice president, chief talent and DEI officer Jeanne-Marie Bowman stated this would require a “systemic and holistic approach”.

“Answering why is a great conversation opener, if we are more inclusive, we perform better and help us succeed and facing going forwards, we have clear evidence, they are compelling, they answer that bigger why,” said Bowman.

“Then we focus on the why within the org, talk about where rep sits right now and talk about ops to advance women for example at leadership level, that is another compelling reason that seems convincing internally.”

Odfjell’s vice president for corporate HR Ingjerd Morland Nettestad said that it will take time to move the needle to create a culture where everyone feels included, and the Norwegian shipping specialist was linking DEI goals with sustainability initiatives to attract talent.

“We are linking this to safet; how do we become so inclusive that it is just part of our culture, embed it into policy and programme making an impact more than always talking about it explicitly outside of regular business rather than outside of it?” said Morland Nettestad.

Vopak global director of HR Hernan Rein stated that there needs to be increased inclusivity at leadership level and making this visible, but also urged people to take initiative for themselves.

“Be more active: don’t just depend on legislation to change this for us, but to actively go for it,” said Rein.

“Focus on gender is universal, but trying to understand from leaders what are diversity challenges, what are the need the under-represented groups that need attention? We have defined diversity broadly for that reason.”

Focus article by Morgan Condon


comments closed

Related News

October 17, 2021

Meet America’s best employers for diversity 2021

Diversity & Inclusion

Since the last iteration of this list, a global pandemic and numerous social justice movements have rocked the U.S. Of the thousands of companies considered for the ranking, 60% are proactively sharing on their websites what they’re doing to promote diversity, up from 46% this time last year. Additionally, 28% now have a senior leader whose sole responsibility is DEI, up from 18% in 2020.

October 3, 2021

Women in the Workplace 2021 – Special Report

Diversity & Inclusion

A year and a half into the COVID-19 pandemic, women in corporate America are even more burned out than they were last year—and increasingly more so than men. Despite this, women leaders are stepping up to support employee well-being and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, but that work is not getting recognized. That’s according to the latest Women in the Workplace report from McKinsey, in partnership with LeanIn.Org.

September 26, 2021

Closing the gender gap in Central and Eastern Europe

Diversity & Inclusion

Since the transition to a market economy three decades ago, Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) has enjoyed what many have called a golden age of growth. However, the factors propelling that growth—such as labor-cost advantages and strong traditional industries—are losing momentum, and the region needs to find new sources of competitiveness.

Send this to a friend