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Note 10: Diversity & Inclusion

We strive to draw from as wide a talent pool as possible and create a working environment where differences are valued and where everyone has the opportunity to develop their skills and talents. To achieve this, we have had a dedicated Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) program in AkzoNobel since 2008. The goals of the program are to create awareness and engagement around diversity, to embed the concept in the organization, to establish company-wide metrics and to make AkzoNobel a true reflection of the markets in which we operate.

We have made good progress with D&I in recent years. For example, we have improved the proportion of our executives who are either women or come from high growth markets. Since the start of 2009, the proportion of women in executive positions has increased from 10 percent in 2009 to 13 percent of the total population in 2011.

The presence of women in executive positions has been particularly strengthened in functional roles over the past two years, especially in HR, Finance, Purchasing, Legal, Marketing and, to a lesser extent, Sales and Manufacturing. With regard to executives in high growth markets, we have made less progress, although the proportion of executives coming from these markets is now 13 percent.

2011 employee diversity








in %





















High growth markets







Mature markets







Executive diversity: female in %

Executive diversity: female in % (bar chart)

Executive diversity: high growth markets in %

Executive diversity: high growth markets in % (bar chart)

In 2011, a number of initiatives were put in place to further embed D&I in the AkzoNobel culture. These included:

  • Three-step D&I program: All of our businesses have now gone through this comprehensive program, which culminates in a customized five-year action plan to improve D&I
  • D&I awareness training for managers in the skills needed to create and sustain diverse teams: 2,000 of our managers have already completed the training
  • D&I e-learning module for all employees: Nearly 20,000 employees globally have completed the training program
  • Mentoring program established: Targeted at our key focus groups – women and employees from high growth markets, this has led to the development of more than 100 mentor and mentee relationships
  • Women in Leadership program: This was developed for women executives and executive potentials to better understand the challenges faced by women in leadership positions. A total of 80 women attended the three courses held in 2011
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