The Group has defined policies, processes, and best practices to attract and retain people while fostering the development of all employees. Solvay is committed to cultivating employees’ development by offering attractive career opportunities and building competencies for today and for future business success.

26,941

Total headcount (all active employees)

24,501

Headcount*

24,340

Full-Time Equivalent*

* Consistent with financial scope.

Reporting practices

Recruitment

A common hiring framework

Solvay applies key principles 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 Solvay's key principles:

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

In its external recruiting strategy, Solvay has been reinforcing digital and social media as one of the main channels for attracting and sourcing qualified and diverse talents.
Solvay was awarded the 2018 LinkedIn Talent Award – Best Employer Brand for companies based in Belgium. This recognition is aimed at companies who use LinkedIn solutions to successfully engage with bright game-changers: 38% of the Group’s external hiring of managerial positions came from LinkedIn in 2018.

Foundations for the future

153

Participants since 1998

53

Current participants in 2018

In 1998, Solvay introduced Foundations for the Future, a rotational development program for university graduates around the world (particularly in engineering, marketing, and accounting) to help them expand their horizons and launch their careers.

It combines training and day-to-day 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 Group.

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).

455

Apprentices

307

Trainees

218

Young employees hired <30 years old

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;
  • They have the tools 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 are systematically sent to newcomers after one month, six months, and one year from the date of hire.

95.3% of newcomers

satisfied with the hiring process

98.5% of newcomers

satisfied with their decision to join the Group

Workforce and turnover figures

Solvay’s workforce by region

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Europe

 

11,444

 

11,351

Percentage of women

 

25%

 

25%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

98%

 

97%

Asia-Pacific and rest of the world

 

4,415

 

4.696

Percentage of women

 

25%

 

25%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

71%

 

62%

North America

 

6,592

 

6,057

Percentage of women

 

20%

 

20%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

98%

 

100%

Latin America

 

2,050

 

2,355

Percentage of women

 

21%

 

21%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

98%

 

100%

Total headcount

 

24,501

 

24,459

Percentage of women

 

23%

 

23%

Percentage of permanent staff

 

93%

 

91%

Solvay’s workforce by contract and by gender

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Permanent contract

 

22,776

 

22,255

of which women

 

23%

 

23%

Temporary contract

 

1,725

 

2,204

of which women

 

28%

 

28%

Total headcount

 

24,501

 

24,459

Solvay’s workforce by employment type

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Full-time contract

 

23,893

 

23,893

of which women

 

22%

 

22%

Part-time contract

 

608

 

556

of which women

 

69%

 

76%

Total headcount

 

24,501

 

24,459

The vast majority of Solvay’s employees are full time (98%). Among part-time employees, women represent a large majority (69%). This is mainly due to requests from this cohort for family purposes.

Solvay’s workforce by employment category

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Senior manager

 

401

 

396

Middle managers

 

2,915

 

2.898

Junior manager

 

5,212

 

5.090

Non managerial

 

15,973

 

16,075

Total headcount

 

24,501

 

24,459

Global staff turnover

Hirings by region

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Asia and rest of the world

 

350

 

334

Europe

 

769

 

647

North America

 

823

 

516

Latin America

 

138

 

154

Total headcount

 

2,080

 

1,661

Hirings by gender

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Male

 

1,479

 

1,134

Female

 

601

 

527

Total headcount

 

2,080

 

1,658

Hirings by age

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

<30

 

899

 

721

30–49

 

1,010

 

812

>49

 

171

 

128

Total headcount

 

2,080

 

1,661

All leaves by region

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Asia and rest of the world

 

407

 

642

Europe

 

926

 

925

North America

 

613

 

715

Latin America

 

264

 

260

Total headcount

 

2,210

 

2,542

All leaves by gender

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Male

 

1,596

 

1,853

Female

 

614

 

689

Total headcount

 

2,210

 

2,542

All leaves by age

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

<30

 

441

 

534

30–49

 

978

 

1,141

>49

 

821

 

867

Total headcount

 

2,210

 

2,542

Voluntary leaves by region

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Asia and rest of the world

 

239

 

349

Europe

 

378

 

341

North America

 

238

 

222

Latin America

 

58

 

61

Total headcount

 

913

 

973

Voluntary leaves by gender

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

Male

 

605

 

653

Female

 

308

 

320

Total headcount

 

913

 

973

Voluntary leaves by age

 

 

2018

 

2017

Scope: consistent with financial reporting.

<30

 

261

 

294

30–49

 

495

 

505

>49

 

157

 

174

Total headcount

 

913

 

973

Employee mobility

Solvay Employee Mobility Rules prioritize internal moves over external recruitment by requiring:

  • Transparency of job postings for open positions;
  • A 15-day exclusivity period for internal candidates before external recruitment may be considered;
  • That employees who have been in a job for three years or more have freedom to apply without managerial approval.

Of the 3,141 positions filled in 2018, 34% were filled internally.

Development

YOU is Solvay's digital tool for employees. It gives them a platform to select training session, share feedback, experiences and skills, contribute to projects, and support their colleagues through coaching.

To reinforce the culture of feedback, Solvay deployed feedback workshops across the organization, starting with top leaders in the Group. At the same time, a new application to receive and give feedback was deployed to all employees to encourage instantaneous and continuous feedback.

The Group is expanding the North America Mentor Program, ESTEEM, which gives individuals a network where they can develop competencies through formal, one-on-one mentoring. It is a process that promotes knowledge sharing, leadership development, and employee engagement. In addition, Solvay has launched a global pilot on reverse-mentoring, aiming to encourage cross-generational mentoring on digital tools.

A pilot program on entrepreneurial leadership for Solvay’s “Leaders of the Future” was launched in May 2018 in Europe, in partnership with Ashoka, one of the world’s top 10 most influential NGOs. Five Solvay Talents were selected to participate to the European Pilot and worked with five Social Entrepreneurs - Ashoka Fellows. The pilot program was concluded in November 2018. Solvay Talents are recommending this program, saying it helped them to be responsible, effective leaders and create an entrepreneurial mindset. Building on the first pilot, a second one was launched in North America in November 2018 with six Solvay Talents.

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

  • The Leadership and 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. In 2018, the three core programs were as follows:
  • Three sessions of the Agile Leadership program were organized in Europe, the United States, and Asia, with 118 attendees. This program enhances interpersonal, leadership, and feedback skills to help managers better influence and lead. It also helps them improve their own performance and that of their team. The target audience is experienced people managers and those individual contributors who lead projects / networks;
  • More than 250 managers participated to Management Development Series, a 10-day program to support new managers’ transition from their role as an individual contributor to that of a people manager. The program format was diversified this year and now includes self-paced learning, classroom facilitated training, on-the-job application, and peer-to-peer coaching;
  • 430 people participated to the Program Supervisor Development Series. This program, created in 2017, is a compact learning experience carried out in Solvay sites that focuses on developing frontline supervisors and team leaders with core skills, knowledge, and key competencies. It provides a continuum of growth along the path, common leadership frameworks, behaviors and practices. It was also designed as a blended learning approach with eLearning, classroom facilitated training, on-the-job practice, and peer-to-peer coaching.
  • 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 professional development within the Professional Family and provides cross-functional content. Solvay has launched six Academies to date. In 2018, 54 academy programs were available for employees;
  • Four Zone Learning Teams support the deployment of global initiatives in line with the Group’s priorities, the core program on Leadership and Management, and Academy programs, and they also manage training needs related to soft and hard skills within their zones.
  • Diversity and Inclusion (290 participants in Brazil and Belgium);
  • Well-being at Work (536 participants in China and Germany).

Since 2016, driven by employee empowerment and employee experience, the learning strategy has specifically focused on making delivery methods more diverse, facilitating access to learning offers, and transforming the employee experience. The result has been:

  • Increased exposure to external learning platforms: 6,800 users have pursued a learning activity (28% of Solvay employees, 49% of the managerial population);
  • Custom internal eLearning modules: more than 230 modules available, with around 130 launched in 2018;
  • Accelerated adoption of the virtual classroom to help transform the way employees learn and become more agile in the way they deploy;
  • Deeper exploration and continued piloting of new digital technologies, including two custom Corporate Open Online Courses (COOCs in various languages), testing of 70 off-the-shelf Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), and serious games;
  • The Solvay Corporate University offers a virtual learning service supplying practical learning programs available to all Solvay employees, wherever they are.

Solvay’s objective:

2020

+1,400

managers in Leadership and Management programs

2020

+1,200

participants in Academy programs

“I have the opportunity to continually learn and grow”: this question on the engagement survey is now the key indicator of the learning and development activity. For 2018 the Group score is 72%, an increase of 4% compared to 2017 and of 6% compared to the external benchmark.

Learning digital appropriation

 

 

2018

Digital learning exposure in %

 

49%

Average number of hours by employee exposed

 

3h

Retention

The Performance and development cycle applies to the entire managerial population. Beyond its initial scope, it is also used by about 5,000 non-managerial employees representing 21% of the non-managerial population.

Local performance and development tools and processes are still available for the population not covered by the Performance and development cycle online tool.

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

The Development and Succession Planning 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 talent, with a specific focus on emerging and future leaders and employees with critical expertise;
  • Securing the succession planning for key positions and the ten key professional pipelines;
  • Encouraging cross-functional moves across Businesses, Functions and regions, and promoting diversified teams.