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Equity, Diversity & Inclusion at Unilever

We’re committed to building an inclusive culture where everyone working at Unilever, without exception, feels able to bring their complete and authentic self to work. We want all our employees to thrive every day irrespective of race, ability, sexual orientation, or gender.

To grow the best teams and future leaders, and to serve shoppers with the best products, we need to build brands and teams that reflect the diversity of the world we live in.


Building an inclusive workplace in the UK and Ireland

We believe building teams with a range of experiences and perspectives is key to growing a sustainable business. We want to achieve this by:

  • Regularly reviewing our recruitment and progression policies to ensure they reflect the communities we serve and operate in
  • Designing and adapting our places of work to be fully accessible
  • Building employee support networks that meet the needs of our workforce and help to build awareness and understanding
  • Ensuring our recruitment and leadership teams complete un-conscious bias training
  • Working with external partners to ensure we are setting stretching goals and ambitions from our recruitment through to our advertising

Creating a more inclusive world through our brands and advertising

We want to drive equal opportunity and inclusion not only within our workplaces but also within the communities and society we are part of. One way we can do this is by leveraging the voice and reach of our brands and our continued commitment to un-stereotype our campaigns.

Through our brands and advertising we want to help build a more inclusive world by representing and celebrating diversity and fighting harmful stereotypes on screen. Off screen, we are committed to working with diverse talent and creators and playing our role in promoting a more equitable society.

As a founding member of The Unstereotype Alliance, which was co-convened by UN Women and Unilever for the first time in Cannes in 2017, we want to use the power of advertising and brand led content to reflect realistic, non-biased portrayals of women and men. The Unstereotype Alliance has recently launched in the UK, supported by Unilever UK & Ireland and our brands, with a primary focus on fighting harmful stereotypes by addressing the representation of marginalised groups, initially focusing on the experience of women of colour.

Here's some ways our brands are helping to fight stereotypes and create better inclusion for all

An image of an episode of ‘The Race Card’

Lynx

As part of their commitment to racial equality, our Lynx team partnered with Complex UK and SocialFixt to create ‘The Race Card, an online series which discusses racial micro-aggression. Turning the accusation of ‘playing the race card’ on its head, the three-part series aims to raise awareness of and address racial microaggressions.

The series is part of Lynx’s commitment to racial equality. They are making it their responsibility to do more to help advance the social equality agenda, educate young men about racism and make diversity a point of celebration instea

An individual enjoying their HB ice-creams, which help to support Down Syndrome Ireland

HB Ice Cream

In Ireland, our HB Ice Cream team have partnered with Down Syndrome Ireland for 20 years. Every year they donate to the charity and support programmes to promote greater inclusivity for the Down Syndrome community in Ireland.

A collage of images representing different hair styles and hair identities.

Dove

Our Dove team recently partnered with Channel 4 and Pulse Films to present ‘Hair Power: Me and My Afro’, a documentary presented by Emma Dabiri the author of ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’, which discusses Black hair and cultural identity, both shining a light on natural Black hair pride and empowerment, as well as Black hair bias and discrimination.

An individual using crutches being able to participate in football

Sure

Our team at Sure have launched the #MoveYourWay campaign to empower people of all abilities to feel more confident and inspired to play sport, whilst helping them to gain access to sport and fitness.

Recently Sure have partnered with One City Disability, supporting Manchester City Football Club to allow every person on the programme to participate and develop football skills regardless of their disability.

An image of different Unilever brands with Pride packaging to support Switchboard.

Switchboard

A range of our beauty and personal care brands have partnered with Switchboard, an LGBT+ Helpline, to help raise awareness of the life changing support they offer to people across the UK. In addition to a donation to help fund their helpline, you can find Switchboard’s logo and helpline number on limited edition Pride packs sold in Superdrug all year.

Three images from the #Show Us campaign, with three different individuals sharing their inclusive beauty.

Dove

Dove recently launched their #ShowUs campaign with the aim of creating a more inclusive vision of beauty in media. Working with Girlgaze and Getty Images, they created a collection of 10,000+ images women and non-binary individuals from around the world who are redefining beauty in their own terms and have made these freely available to media and advertisers.

"We all need to play our part in the effort to create a more equitable society, free from discrimination of any kind. Both individual and collective action is needed to create sustained positive change. I believe that business has an important role in shaping awareness, given how much of our time we spend at work with our colleagues, and at Unilever we are looking at what more we can do to embed these values in our company, and use our voice to help drive wider industry and societal change. Increasing our diversity and inclusion remains an absolute focus across the business - we are committed to doing more and to doing better."

SEBASTIAN MUNDEN Executive Vice President & General Manager for Unilever UK & Ireland

Our Global Commitment

Within our global business, our diversity and inclusion strategy is driven at the very highest level through our Global Diversity Board, which is chaired by our CEO, Alan Jope, and championed by Aline Santos, Unilever’s SVP Marketing and Global Head of Diversity. The board provides the overarching vision, governance and target setting for diversity and inclusion across the global business.

To find out more on what we’re doing to address diversity and create a fair workplace as a global business please click here.

Social mobility

As well as doing more to build a diverse business, we want to diversify our recruitment and the reach of our work experience and mentorship opportunities.

We recognise that people’s paths to work start long before they start looking for a job and that this path is much easier for those from privileged backgrounds. We are committed to boosting social mobility by giving people from less advantaged backgrounds a route into the workplace, and by showing young people the variety of careers open to them.

U experience

U-Experience

We have over 300 apprentices in our business, with around 100 joining each year, giving young people on-the-job experience and training across the business, with the opportunity to apply for roles once their apprenticeship finishes.

To diversify our recruitment outreach, we work with partners such as The Amos Bursary, Movement To Work, King’s College London and UpReach, to offer work experience, mentorship and insight sessions for those that face unfair disadvantages and additional barriers to employment. We continue to see these programmes grow every year.

Individuals on these programmes are given real exposure to the business and hands on experience to help gain skills and grow confidence. We monitor progress closely to ensure that candidates can be fast tracked to the later stages of our recruitment for permanent roles, such as our Apprenticeship and Graduate programmes.

I'm Walls

I’m Wall’s

Our I’m Wall’s programme looks to tackle unemployment of young or socially excluded people by providing accredited training, a support network and offering real work experience at retail sites selling I’m Wall’s ice cream across the UK. The experience helps young people to find purpose and routine, learn new skills and enable personal growth and the confidence to find sustainable employment.

Ice Academy

Ice Academy

Our Ben & Jerry’s team have partnered with The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network (TERN)—a group of dedicated, pioneering social activists—to help people who arrived as refugees start their own businesses or enter the job market. Together, they started the Ice Academy programme, an innovative model which works with people to develop their business ideas along with entrepreneurship training, mentoring and part-time employment.

Our policies & flexible working

At Unilever, we have a range of industry-leading, family-friendly and flexible working policies, which enable our employees to balance their working responsibilities with their personal priorities:

  • Agile working, which gives employees the possibility to work remotely and flex their own hours
  • Flexible working arrangements including, but not limited to, part-time and job share opportunities
  • Enhanced leave policies - all employees taking maternity or shared parental leave have up to 16 weeks’ paid leave and some eligible employees can have up to 39 weeks’ paid leave. In addition, our Maternity & Paternity Services portal provides online resources to support employees at all stages of parenthood, as well as tailored guidance for line managers
  • Practical support including nursery benefits and back-up care for parents and carers
  • A constant focus on wellbeing for employees, including regular health checks, mental health support and our Employee Assistance Programme

Our stories

Jane Maciver and Shelagh Muir, VP R&D Oral Care, have been successfully job sharing for the past two years.

“I knew that I wanted to progress into a more senior role but was keen to do so with the flexibility to invest in myself alongside my career. Job-sharing has been a huge benefit in terms of my health and wellbeing. For me, it’s so important to make space for all aspects of your life and to focus on a more holistic sense of purpose. Job-sharing gives us the opportunity to benefit and enjoy the challenge of fulfilling a VP role with the support of each other, whilst having the space, time and capacity to invest in our personal purpose outside of the working environment. On my days off I benefit from the opportunity to completely relax without any internal conflict of what I’m missing at work. For our role there’s a real benefit to having two brains over one. We have similar values but different networks, styles of working and expertise. We approach issues differently, which makes our output greater. We’re also a great support to each other and can bounce ideas off one another, which adds to our strength and creativity.”

Jane Maciver

I’d been working in this VP role for a while by myself and saw a huge opportunity in job-sharing the role, both from a personal and professional perspective. For me, the benefit of job-sharing is that it allows me to invest my time in other aspects of my life where I want to have an impact. Currently, I’m involved in working with my community garden which gives me a great sense of fulfilment. At Unilever, everybody has been incredibly supportive and encouraging. We both work three-day weeks, with a cross over day on Wednesday. The key point is we form one entity. It’s very rewarding working so closely with Jane and gives me a great energy within my role.”

Shelagh Muir

David Tregidgo, Human Resources Director, decided to take an eight-month shared paternal leave to focus on his family and support the birth of his daughter.

“Being able to make time for the things that matter most, such as family, is important. When my wife and I were expecting our second child I decided that, in addition to my paternity leave, I would take two periods of parental leave, including a week before the birth of our son and a month later in the year. Recently my wife and I had our third child. We’ve jointly decided that she would return to work after 4 months and that I would take an eight-month period of shared parental leave so that our baby gets her first year with one or the other of us. This will see my role covered with the same process as maternity leave and I am looking forward to returning to my role next year. Having such a broad range of paternity options available gives me the opportunity to support my wife, take care of our children and spend quality time together as a family. Being able to focus solely on my family during these times is the right choice for me and I’m thankful for being able to make the most of this benefit at Unilever.”

David Tregidgo