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Solvay is committed to cultivating employees’ personal and professional growth by offering career paths and opportunities, and by building skills for the future. Solvay is also 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 the development of all employees.

26,827

Total headcount (all active employees)

24,459

Headcount*

24,289

Full-Time Equivalent*

* Consistent with financial perimeter 

Group’s social reporting practices

Recruitment

A common hiring framework

A key lever to achieving the business strategy is the ability to attract, select, and retain the right talent in accordance with the Group evolving business needs. Solvay applies key principles globally to attract a qualified and diverse talent pool able to contribute to the successful achievement of business objectives while ensuring the Group’s corporate social responsibility.

Three of our key principles:

  • Provide equal opportunity without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, family status, or any other legal basis;
  • Strive for diversity and multidisciplinary profiles for greater business performance;
  • Select candidates for positions based on their capacity to contribute now as well as in the future.

The Talent Acquisition process begins with creating visibility among targeted candidates and ends with the full integration of individuals into the Group.

Foundations for the future

142

Participants since 1998

68

Current participants in 2017

“Foundations for the Future” is an example of how Solvay helps young people launch their careers. In 1998, Solvay introduced “Foundations for the Future”, a rotational development program for new graduates around the world, to help them expand their horizons.

The program offers graduates in the early stages of their career, in particular engineers and marketing graduates, an intensive rotating experience within the company. It combines training and work, allowing participants to experience project management, hands-on field work, and advanced analytical problem-solving in different locations and countries. After three to five years of rotations, graduates pursue their career in the Solvay group.

Engaging with the European Pact for Youth

The Pact for Youth is a mutual engagement of business, European Union leaders, and NGOs working in the field. Initiated by CSR Europe, it brings together representatives from business, education, younger generations, and the European institutions to develop and consolidate partnerships in support of youth employability and inclusion.

Through the Pact, Solvay commits to pursuing the following objectives and actions:

  • Boost the number and quality of business-education partnerships;
  • Reduce the skills gap; and
  • Contribute to European and national policies for the development of skills for employability.

In line with these objectives and proposed actions, the Pact participants set a goal to support the creation of 10,000 quality business-education partnerships, with the shared target of jointly establishing at least 100,000 new quality apprenticeships, traineeships, or entry-level jobs in 2017.

Developing a culture of business-education Partnerships

In 2016, Solvay began working with three multinational companies to test apprenticeship mobility under the auspices of the ErasmusPro program in Europe. Solvay’s goal is to allow five young people to experience this international assignment in 2018.

Alliance for Youth

Since 2016, by participating in the Alliance for Youth pan-European business driven movement, Solvay has worked to create concrete opportunities for young people to enter the labor market, to strengthen Solvay’s employer brand regarding social responsibility, and to fill Solvay’s talent pipeline in an effective and structured manner (e.g. apprenticeships in countries with less of a tradition in this area).

1,033

New learning opportunities in Europe since 2016*

166

Entry positions offered in Europe since 2016

*Apprenticeships, internships, and traineeships

Onboarding the newcomers

To help increase newcomers’ engagement level, success, and retention, in late 2016 Solvay began putting in place a global onboarding platform to ensure that:

  • newcomers receive a standard “getting started” experience when they begin working at Solvay; and
  • they have the requisite equipment they need to do their work right from day 1.

In order to get feedback and monitor the global onboarding process along the way, surveys will be systematically sent to newcomers after one month, six months, and one year from the date of hire.

95.2% of newcomers

satisfied by the hiring process

97.1% of newcomers

satisfied with their decision to join the Group

Workforce and turnover figures

Solvay’s workforce by region

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

Europe

 

11,351

 

13,030

Percentage of women

 

25%

 

23%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

97%

 

97%

Asia-Pacific & rest of the world

 

4,696

 

5,229

Percentage of women

 

25%

 

24%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

62%

 

62%

North America

 

6,057

 

6,424

Percentage of women

 

20%

 

20%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

100%

 

100%

Latin America

 

2,355

 

2,347

Percentage of women

 

21%

 

21%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

100%

 

100%

Total headcount

 

24,459

 

27,030

Percentage of women

 

23%

 

23%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

91%

 

91%

The strong reduction of the workforce in Europe and Asia in 2017 compared to 2016 was due to the size of the Polyamide GBU headcount.

Solvay’s workforce by contract and by gender

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

Permanent contract

 

22,255

 

24,710

of which women

 

23%

 

22%

Temporary contract

 

2,204

 

2,320

of which women

 

28%

 

27%

Total headcount

 

24,459

 

27,030

Solvay’s workforce by employment type

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

Full-time contract

 

23,893

 

26,460

of which women

 

22%

 

20%

Part-time contract

 

556

 

570

of which women

 

76%

 

80%

Total headcount

 

24,459

 

27,030

The vast majority of Solvay’s employees are full time (98%). Among part-time employees, women represent a large majority (76%). This is mainly due to requests from this group for family purposes.

Solvay’s workforce by employment category

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

Senior manager

 

396

 

428

Middle managers

 

2,898

 

3,026

Junior manager

 

5,090

 

5,348

Non managerial

 

16,075

 

18,228

Total headcount

 

24,459

 

27,030

Since Solvay has a strong industrial footprint, 66% of employees are not managerial staff, but rather operators in plants.

Global staff turnover

Hirings by region

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

Asia and rest of the world

 

334

 

348

Europe

 

647

 

638

North America

 

516

 

353

Latin America

 

154

 

111

Total headcount

 

1,661

 

1,450

Hirings by gender

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

Male

 

1,134

 

949

Female

 

527

 

501

Total headcount

 

1,658

 

1,450

Hirings by age

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

<30

 

721

 

647

30–49

 

812

 

692

>49

 

128

 

111

Total headcount

 

1,661

 

1,450

All leaves by region

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

Asia and rest of the world

 

642

 

1,091

Europe

 

925

 

775

North America

 

715

 

247

Latin America

 

260

 

575

Total headcount

 

2,542

 

2,688

All leaves by gender

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

Male

 

1,853

 

2,011

Female

 

689

 

677

Total headcount

 

2,542

 

2,688

All leaves by age

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

<30

 

534

 

550

30–49

 

1,141

 

994

>49

 

867

 

1,144

Total headcount

 

2,542

 

2,688

Voluntary leaves by region

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

Asia and rest of the world

 

349

 

394

Europe

 

341

 

334

North America

 

222

 

187

Latin America

 

61

 

33

Total headcount

 

973

 

948

Voluntary leaves by gender

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

Male

 

653

 

654

Female

 

320

 

294

Total headcount

 

973

 

948

Voluntary leaves by age

 

 

2017

 

2016

Scope: Consistent with financial reporting.

<30

 

294

 

273

30–49

 

505

 

450

>49

 

174

 

225

Total headcount

 

973

 

948

Employee mobility

The Group’s approach is to ensure that employees can move across functions and countries in order to develop their skills while also increasing the exchange of skills across regions and/or businesses. Solvay Employee Mobility Rules clearly prioritize internal moves over external recruitment:

  • transparency with job posting of the open positions;
  • there is a 15-day priority period for internal candidates before external recruitment may be considered;
  • employees who have been in a job for three years or more are free to apply without managerial approval.

Of the 2,603 positions filled in 2017, 36% were filled internally.

Development

Solvay’s ambition is to enable every employee to maximize their potential for performance and increase their employability. Each employee is empowered to grow and to develop their career, while Solvay pledges to foster a development culture and provide policies and tools that help everyone succeed.

At Solvay, knowledge, skills, and behaviors are acquired through an array of developmental actions: through experience, from others (feedback and coaching), through training sessions, and by self-learning. The Group envisions a culture of development characterized by challenges, feedback, and trust.

€6,726,589

training budget

32.9

average training hours per employee

Solvay Corporate University

Solvay Corporate University programs and services provide training opportunities for all employees globally on a wide range of subjects and levels. Solvay Corporate University is organized as follows:

  • The Leadership & Management Division aims to enhance the managerial effectiveness and competencies of tomorrow's business leaders and team managers on subjects ranging from basic management skills to advanced leadership behaviors;
  • The Academies Division helps Solvay Professional Families achieve their strategic objectives by working closely to identify, design, and deliver the expertise they require around the world. Academies focus on a learning curriculum that supports the professional development within the Professional Family and provides cross-functional content. Solvay has launched six Academies to date;
  • Four Zone Learning Teams support the deployment of the global initiatives and manage training needs related to soft and hard skills within their zones.

Training figures

The Solvay Corporate University offers a virtual learning service, practical learning programs available to all Solvay employees, wherever they are.

+1,300

managers in the Leadership & Management programs

+2,300

participants in Academy programs

56

Academy learning program

In 2017, each zone received a budget to support cross-functional initiatives related to frontline management and interpersonal skills. This made it possible to organize training in the areas considered to be a priority within the Group’s subsets. Below are some examples:

  • Diversity & Inclusion (640 participants in Brazil, France, Singapore, and the US);
  • Work-Life Balance (390 participants in China and Brazil);
  • Wellbeing@work for managers and collaborators (317 participants in Belgium).

Solvay’s objective:

2020

One week

of training per employee, per year on average

The results below include all training provided in all four zones, including Leadership & Management programs, Academies, and local training.

Average hours of training

Hours

 

2017

 

2016

Legend: in Solvay Corporate University calculations, we exclude the “apprentices” employee sub-group, and the headcount basis for our calculation is the average number of FTE for the year.

By men

 

33.1

 

33.7

By women

 

32.5

 

33.8

By senior managers

 

10.6

 

22.8

By middle managers

 

25.0

 

31.9

By junior managers

 

36.0

 

37.8

By non managerial

 

33.9

 

33.1

Per employee

 

32.9

 

33.7

In 2017, the average number of learning hours per employee (32.9 instead of 33.7 hours) remained stable at the Group level. There was a significant difference for the senior managers, who completed a round of global training on such topics as Transformational Leadership.

Delivery methods

In %

 

2017

Instructor led

 

80.4

Digital learning

 

9.7

On-the-job training

 

9.9

In line with the learning strategy, there was a specific focus on diversifying delivery methods and expanding digital learning offers.

  • Implementation of a new eLearning external platform: 5,700 users with learning activity;
  • Custom internal eLearning: more than 280 modules available, with around 100 launched in 2017;
  • Continued adoption of the virtual classroom to help transform the way we learn and become more agile in the way we deploy;
  • Deeper exploration and continued piloting of new digital technologies, including two custom Corporate Open Online Courses (COOCs), testing of 70 on-the-shelves Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and serious games.
Hours of training by learning domain

In %

 

2017

Health, Safety, Environment, and Industrial

 

62.0

Professional Development

 

11.6

Leadership & Management

 

6.6

Human Resources

 

4.7

Others

 

15.1

Average training investment

In €

 

2017

Per senior manager

 

293

Per middle manager

 

452

Per junior manager

 

417

Per non managerial

 

196

Per employee

 

274

Transition assistance programs to facilitate continued employability and the management of career aims

Specific training programs designed to help manage career endings – whether through termination of employment or retirement - are not consistently deployed in the Group as a global initiative.

In France, pre-retirement workshops were offered to prospective retirees in 2017. The workshops focused on themes such as change management, financial planning, time management, legal aspects, and health. The aim of these events was to prepare departing employees for the transition to retirement and to help them develop a new life project.

Retention

Performance, Development and Career Review (PDCR)

Solvay is committed to ensuring that each employee has a formal Performance, Development, and Career discussion with their Manager at least once a year, with a specific focus on development. An important focus of this process is on employee’s development and career management:

  • assessment of behavioral competencies;
  • agreement on a development plan;
  • discussion of career aspirations.

The process is supported by an online tool and will be used in the Compensation Review and other HR processes such as training, succession planning, and career development.

Since 2016, the PDCR cycle has been adapted to ensure that one of the three discussions in the cycle was repositioned to focus on long-term development needs and employability. In addition to this initiative, a project was launched to extend the PDCR to more non-managerial employees. This requires willingness on the part of both local management and employee representatives.

The PDCR process applies to the entire managerial population. Beyond its initial scope, the PDCR is also used by about 4,400 non-managerial employees.

52% of Solvay employees were covered by the 2017 online Performance, Development, and Career Review (PDCR):

  • 100% of the managerial population (29% women);
  • 27% of the non-managerial population (45% women).

Local performance and development tools and processes are available for the population not covered by the PDCR online tool, without global reporting.

Development and Succession Planning

Solvay has a Development and Succession Planning (DSP) process for its managerial population. This management meeting is organized according to a yearly cycle. It is where topics related to Succession Planning, Talent Identification and Career Development are discussed and where decisions are made collectively.

The DSP process aims to ensure the Group has the right people at the right place to achieve its growth strategy and performance goals by:

  • identifying and developing talents, with a specific focus on High Potentials and owners of critical expertise;
  • securing the succession planning for key positions and 100% of the key professional pipelines;
  • encouraging cross-functional moves across Businesses / Functions and Regions.

Since 2016, managers have had access to an online display of the DSP results related to their teams so that they can have deeper development discussions. In 2017, both new GBUs - from the Cytec acquisition - integrated the DSP process with the support of a new DSP eLearning.

Talent Days

Talent days are regional events where selected internal talents meet with Solvay leaders and Human Resources. It is an opportunity for development and increased visibility outside their respective entities. During these events, talents have scheduled face-to-face meetings with Solvay leaders and Human Resources in which they present themselves and clarify their career aspirations.

In 2015, to harmonize the Talent Day objectives, process, and timeline, Solvay published common guidelines on its intranet.

110 talents

participated in 2017

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 cases, 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.

More details on Solvay Cares