Increasing female representation at the senior executive level to 30%



AkzoNobel has committed to fostering an inclusive culture in a workplace where all colleagues feel included, respected and engaged. We look to attract talent across all demographics and we offer equal opportunities to our colleagues.  

What did you want to achieve? 

One area we’re particularly focused on is gender balance. Our ambition is to increase female representation at the senior executive level to 30% by 2025. 

What did you do? 

To reach this ambition, AkzoNobel’s Executive Committee endorsed the launch of a challenging programme that includes:  

  • Setting business unit and functions across the company hiring targets to reach a 50/50% gender balance in new hires for middle management and executive levels 
  • Tasking each executive leadership team with driving a specific business unit or function level action plan aimed at strengthening gender diversity in their department  
  • Carrying out a sanity check on our HR processes to ensure none are biased  
  • Implementing additional measures to continue developing inclusive leaders and role-models, such as our Inclusive Leadership Guide and Global Women’s Network 
  • Ensuring women are proportionally represented in all our Talent Pools (at least 35%) and supporting their advancement with additional development options
  • Enhancing efforts to support and develop female talent as future leaders at the executive level

What are the results so far? 

Since the launch of our programme in early 2020, all projects have been successfully kicked off and are showing promise: 

  • We launched our global Women Inspired Network in March 2020, bringing together a community of women and men from around the world.
  • Executive management teams are setting up business unit-specific action plans to advance women in their departments.  
  • And we have made an inclusive leadership guide called ‘I belong’ available to managers and all employees to help us be more inclusive every day. 

What have you learned? 

We have learned that fostering an inclusive culture in which all of us can thrive is everyday work. Leaders at AkzoNobel have a key role in their commitment to making progress and setting the example for what it means to be vulnerable and address potential biases.  

We have also learned that achieving success means we will need to continue to engage all colleagues – globally, regionally and locally – to participate in our diversity and inclusion activities and projects. 

AkzoNobel What we have learned