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Solvay commits to personal and professional growth by offering exciting career paths and challenging opportunities, and by building skills for the future. In addition, Solvay is committed to aligning its workforce with the needs of implementing a sound business strategy. The Group has developed and launched policies and processes with a view to attracting and retaining staff, and to fostering development of the Group's workforce.

The data offer proof that the Group’s strategy is transforming its human capital and offering real opportunities to its employees.

Data show that:

  • Geographic distribution of personnel is aligned with respective business size;
  • Voluntary resignation levels remain low;
  • Internal mobility is a well-established practice within the Group.

29,354

Total headcount (all active employees)

27,030

Headcount at financial results perimeter

26,887

Full-Time Equivalent (active employees)

Solvay’s workforce by region

 

 

2016

 

2015

Europe

 

13,030

 

14,124

Percentage of women

 

23%

 

22%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

97%

 

94%

Asia-Pacific & rest of the world

 

5,229

 

5,901

Percentage of women

 

24%

 

23%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

62%

 

63%

North America

 

6,424

 

3,782

Percentage of women

 

20%

 

20%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

100%

 

100%

Latin America

 

2,347

 

2,543

Percentage of women

 

21%

 

20%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

100%

 

100%

Total Headcount

 

27,030

 

26,350

Percentage of women

 

23%

 

22%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

91%

 

86%

Solvay favors direct permanent contracts within the company, considering its skill requirements. This principle is enshrined in the IndustriALL Global Union Agreement. Therefore, the number of temporary contracts or short-term contracts is quite low. Note that apprentices and trainees are usually recruited on short-term contracts. The percentage of permanent staff in Asia is lower than in other regions; this is because under Chinese labor laws, the short-term contract is standard until employees reach at least nine years of seniority. In North America and Latin America, the labor market is organised through permanent contracts.

The highest percentages of female employees are in Asia.

The Group's global presence covers all business aspects, including commercial, industrial, research and managerial functions The employment structure reflects this trend. The Group recruits where it has its activities, in order to capitalize on the capabilities of the local workforce as much as possible. It follows, therefore, that the regional distribution of employees is going to become more and more proportionate to the distribution of sales. This helps the Group to ensure the societal acceptance of its businesses in the regions where it operates.

Variations in employment

Because of the Group’s business model, employment does not fluctuate significantly during the year. However, there are activities that function in campaign or project mode, where alternative work arrangements provide a better fit with the operational needs and worker interests than traditional employment.

Contingent Work on site

A significant part of the Group’s work is performed by individuals who are not under an employment contract with the Solvay group.

Such work is typically found where skills are not specific to the Group's activities and contingent work provides advantages such as higher skill level, lower cost or more flexibility, enhancing the flexibility of Group activities. This is mostly the case in high-level consulting, information technology, plant maintenance, security, facilities and catering.

As the contractor is obliged to deliver these services and does not make a commitment based on the number of persons used for the work, we do not consolidate such numbers.

Based on records kept for safety monitoring, we estimate that about 30% of the group's total on-site workforce is not under an employment contract with a company of the Solvay group.

Solvay’s workforce by contract and by gender

 

 

2016

 

2015

Permanent contract

 

24,710

 

23,393

of which women

 

22%

 

21%

Temporary contract

 

2,320

 

2,957

of which women

 

27%

 

26%

Total headcount

 

27,030

 

26,350

91% of Solvay’s employment contracts are permanent (9% short-term contracts). The proportion of women in permanent employment is about the same as the proportion of women in the company (22% vs 23%). Nevertheless, women occupy a significant share of the temporary contracts (27% vs 23%).

Solvay’s workforce by employment type

 

 

2016

 

2015

Full-time contract

 

26,460

 

25,712

of which women

 

20%

 

20%

Part-time contract

 

570

 

638

of which women

 

80%

 

79%

Total headcount

 

27,030

 

26,350

The vast majority of Solvay’s employees are full time (98%). Among part-time employees, women represent a large majority (80%).

Solvay’s workforce by level

 

 

2016

 

2015

Senior manager

 

428

 

428

Middle managers

 

3,026

 

2,819

Junior manager

 

5,348

 

4,491

Non managerial

 

18,228

 

18,612

Grand Total

 

27,030

 

26,350

Since Solvay has a strong industrial footprint, 67% of employees are not managerial staff, but rather operators in plants.

2% of employees are senior managers, which is a very reasonable ratio.

Global staff turnover

Hirings

By region

Headcount

 

2016

 

2015

Asia and rest of the world

 

348

 

642

Europe

 

638

 

1,174

North America

 

353

 

404

Latin America

 

111

 

335

Total

 

1,450

 

2,555

Despite an uncertain economic environment in 2016, Solvay did a significant amount of external recruitment. The reduction of external recruitment was attributable to an increased effort on internal mobility.

By gender

Headcount

 

2016

 

2015

Male

 

949

 

1,783

Female

 

501

 

772

Total

 

1,450

 

2,555

It should be noted that the share of women among new hires (34%) is higher than the percentage of women in the company (23%).

By age

Headcount

 

2016

 

2015

< 30

 

647

 

1,499

30 - 49

 

692

 

899

> 49

 

111

 

157

Total

 

1,450

 

2,555

While the reduction in recruitment in 2016 affected mainly young people, as expected, the majority of the recruits fall into the youngest categories. It is worth noting that there was a significant influx of seniors among the new recruits (8% in 2016 vs 6% in 2015).

All leaves

By region

Headcount

 

2016

 

2015

Europe

 

1,091

 

1,064

Asia-Pacific and rest of the world

 

775

 

858

Latin America

 

247

 

676

North America

 

575

 

247

Total

 

2,688

 

1,534

The total number of leaves per region reflects efforts to adapt the sizing of the Group, mainly for portfolio or business reasons (Europe, North America), with very few redundancies..

By gender

Headcount

 

2016

 

2015

Male

 

2,011

 

2,005

Female

 

677

 

840

Total

 

2,688

 

2,845

The proportion of females leaving (25%) is about the same as their proportion in the company (23%).

By age

Headcount

 

2016

 

2015

< 30

 

550

 

982

30 - 49

 

994

 

970

> 49

 

1,144

 

893

Total

 

2,688

 

2,845

Restructuring typically has a more substantial impact on the senior population.

Voluntary Leaves

By region

Headcount

 

2016

 

2015

Europe

 

394

 

172

Asia-Pacific and rest of the world

 

334

 

294

Latin America

 

33

 

64

North America

 

187

 

96

Total

 

948

 

626

The number of voluntary leaves remains low (3.5%), despite an increase in 2016 The increase in North America was mainly due to the acquisition of Cytec.

By gender

Headcount

 

2016

 

2015

Male

 

654

 

424

Female

 

294

 

202

Total

 

948

 

626

In 2016, the proportion of women leaving the company voluntarily, mainly for personal reasons, did not change materially compared with 2015.

By age

Headcount

 

2016

 

2015

< 30

 

273

 

233

30 - 49

 

450

 

320

> 49

 

225

 

73

Total

 

948

 

626

Despite the increase in voluntary leaves, the number of young employees leaving voluntarily remained the same, which is positive.

Employee mobility

The Group’s approach is to ensure that employees can move across functions and countries in order to develop their skills, and to increase the exchange of skills across regions and/or businesses.

Internal moves

Of 3,364 filled positions and 57 % of mobilities are filled internally in Solvay. This percentage is the result of an active internal mobility made of: clear priority given to internal moves versus external recruitment, transparency with job posting of the empty positions, a priority period of 15 days for internal candidates before considering any external recruitment, the freedom of employees to candidate to a job after 3 years in a job without management approval.

Employee benefits

Benefits reflect local market practice and laws. Legislation in this field differs from country to country. Benefits for part-time employees are generally on a par with those for full-time staff - prorated for the number of hours worked. In exceptional, at some sites, e.g. in the United States, not all long-term benefits apply to part-time employees.

For temporary employees in Europe, benefits are generally granted according to the same principles as for full-time employees, whereas standards can differ outside Europe.