Social Sustainability: Diversity at Aperam
The steel industry of today has changed greatly from the days when workshop operations necessitated muscular strength and recruitment was limited to men. As a result, we now have more women in the workforce, including some leading our key production units. Because Aperam sees value in a diverse workforce, we are keen to attract the very best talent, regardless of age, gender, national origin or disabilities and integrate everyone into the Aperam family.
Achieving More Gender Diversity
Women only make up 12% of our staff: 6% of operators but 20% of global exempts, and 21% of 2019’s joiners (vs. only 13% in 2018)!
Some units report a better rate, such as S&S Brazil (over 20% in Campinas), who state that this higher level of female employees is a driving factor behind their excellent safety and efficiency levels. Our Luxembourg Headquarters boast the best score with 45% of all employees being female.
For years now we have been participating in job fairs to promote the industry and the feminisation of our fields of activity (eg. in France: ‘Semaine de la mixité’, ‘Forum des métiers au féminin’). Still, despite our best efforts, recruiting women remains difficult as few apply, especially in Europe.
In 2018, we launched a specific company-wide program. Among its first actions was a self-assessment using the United Nations’ Women Empowerment Principles bench-marking tool. The outcome of this assessment was then used to help structure a subsequent company-wide action plan. The aim of this plan is twofold:
- to ensure that our female employees are treated fairly, with an emphasis on fighting stereotypes and taking specific, female-focused measures regarding ergonomics, work environment, career development, etc.
- to increase the number of women working at Aperam by recruiting women at all levels of the company, from the traditionally male-dominated shop floor up to the management level.
Welcoming People with Disabilities
Regarding people with disabilities, several of our sites have undertaken special programs to promote inclusiveness, diversity and equal opportunities and to ensure that everybody is recognised for what they bring to the company.
For instance, our Timoteo unit in Brazil launched a specific process for recruiting people with disabilities. This hiring process was combined with a range of actions aimed at increasing awareness among our employees about the benefits of inclusiveness and the many different ways everyone can contribute to Aperam’s success. To ensure a smooth onboarding process, specific care was taken to ensure teams were fully prepared to include people with disabilities and to help walk them through our routines and procedures.
Mixing Languages and Cultures
Because of our global composition, diversity at Aperam is often defined by language and culture. We have four main official languages: English, Dutch, French and Portuguese, and all corporate communications are dispatched in multiple language versions. In fact, many of our official communications, such as our Health & Safety campaigns, our Compliance posters and, more recently, our Anti-Corruption campaign, are translated in up to 10 languages! In addition, site management are encouraged to use the local language of the workers, thus ensuring that proximity is not an empty word.
That being said, in order to boost creativity, at times we do utilise positive discrimination. For example, when several profiles match, sometime we will opt for the local profile, while other times we will go with a new nationality in hopes that they will bring different ideas to the teams they join. In other words, we take a multi-criteria approach to diversity, one that is tailored to our ingenuity credo.
CEO Tim de Maulo talks about
Gender Diversity in Aperam
514 Full-Time Equivalent Employees
28 – Average Age
21% are women