Solvay in top 10 employers for inclusion and diversity


The Brussels-based chemical concern is in the top 2% of employers for its efforts to create a diverse and inclusive work environment, according to the Financial Times

Inaugural ranking

The Brussels-based chemical giant Solvay has come in ninth in the new Financial Times ranking of best employers when it comes to inclusion and diversity. The Diversity Leaders ranking is based on diversity of gender, age, ethnicity, disability and LGBT identity.

The Financial Times applied the inclusion methodology to 10,000 companies in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. It then created a ranking of the top 700 companies.

Solvay is the highest-ranking Belgian concern at number nine, putting it in the top 2% of all the businesses surveyed. The company was founded in 1863 by chemist Ernest Solvay after he discovered how to manufacture soda carbonate using ammonia. The practice is still known today as the “Solvay process”.

80,000 employees questioned

Information for Diversity Leaders was gathered by the Financial Times and German market data firm Statista from 80,000 employees in the countries concerned. The survey ultimately considered not just the number of employees involved but the general attitude of the employees when it comes to matters of diversity.

Human resource departments and recruitment agencies were also consulted. It’s the first Diversity Leaders list published, but the newspaper intends to make it an annual ranking.

The companies were most often headquartered, or had a European headquarter, in one of the 10 countries, but this was not a requirement. The list’s top 10, however, were all headquartered – either global or European – in the country in which the survey took place. Brussels is Solvay’s global headquarters.

Other companies on the list with global headquarters in Belgium are Akka Technology (Brussels) at 314, Agfa-Gevaert (Mortsel) at 388 and BDO Global (Zaventem) at 669.

Companies on the list with European headquarters in Belgium are Huawei (Brussels) at 36, Bridgestone (Zaventem) at 206, Sappi (Brussels) at 327, UPS (Brussels) at 418, Toyota (Brussels) at 461, BNY Mellon (Brussels) at 463, Radisson (Brussels) at 486, Honeywell (Diegem) at 587 and ExxonMobil (Machelen) at 666.

Top of the list, meanwhile, is, with its global headquarters in Amsterdam. Colgate-Palmolive (Switzerland), Willmott Dixon (UK), Infineon (Germany) and Helsana (Switzerland) rounded out the top five.

Photos, from top: Solvay’s Brussels headquarters ©Jean Michel Byl/Solvay; Huawei’s European headquarters are in Brussels, while its Research and Development branch is in Ghent ©Dirk Waem/BELGA