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Nurturing diversity and closing gender gaps

Innovation 2020-06-19 Sandvik Coromant

Diversity in Sandvik Coromant means a lot more than having offices in 45 countries and 7,900 employees worldwide. Diversity is a torrent of new ideas, fresh perspectives and competitive visions – the kind that enrich daily work life and unite employees from all around the world in a space of high cultural awareness and acceptance.

​​​​​​​​​Diversity as the key to a well-balanced and successful business

According to the Diversity Matters report by McKinsey & Company, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. The report also found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. And while engineering and manufacturing has historically been a sector heavily dominated by men, the statistics are moving in the right direction. Within Sandvik Coromant, women now make up 18% of the global workforce and 30% of next-generation managers. Women also account for a 40% share of the global function management teams. There's more work to be done, for sure, but it is clear that our gender initiatives are starting to make a difference.

But diversity is more than statistics and financial KPIs.

It stands on talent bolstered by ambition, and is held together by creativity and compassion that moves the mind beyond the limits of the familiar and the personal. Cultural and personal differences inspire teams to perform better, bringing balance to the workplace and strengthening business performance and long-term sustainability.

“Diversity in a team is actually quite tough." Nadine Crauwels, president of Sandvik Coromant, said. “It's easier when everyone is alike, thinks alike and acts alike. The thing is, however, that we need diversity to progress. We all need to acknowledge the power of difference and let other views and angles come across. That's when the results come.” 

Gender gaps are also slowly closing, pushing the manufacturing industry towards a more gender agnostic future. Sandvik Coromant is comprised of a wide variety of professionals with a multitude of different skill sets – from software development to data analytics and artificial intelligence. We, as a company, have a responsibility to ensure that our recruitment policies are evenhanded and that no gender bias exists.

A full range of supporting schemes and initiatives are also there to ensure that new and longtime employees alike feel just as accepted and motivated as the first time they applied to our open positions. But it's also about ensuring we deliver an inclusive working environment where diversity is appreciated, valued and respected. We foster a culture of openness where all individuals are empowered to speak up and share their knowledge and ideas. After all, diverse teams can only thrive when there is true equality of voice.

But sometimes the full force of the message falls upon first contact – which is often through job postings and our website. No matter how much we advocate for diversity and inclusion in actions and events internally, it all starts with the recruitment process and what lies a click away. Even the smallest changes to words and phrases can make a difference to make sure that our job vacancies attract a varied group of applicants.

This is supported by integrated HR policies and processes, which focus on attracting a broad spectrum of talent while encouraging clear succession and leadership development. We also monitor our performance in areas such as gender balance, with quarterly measurement of new hires giving us an up-to-date picture of the progress being made.

Paving the way for young women in engineering

It can be tough for women to join a mostly male-dominated sector, and those impressions start off early.

“I also think that we need to engage with students at a younger age than we usually do," Nadine Crauwels said. “They often make up their minds as early as 14 or 15 years old. It is our responsibility to support them by creating an open-minded approach and showing them all possible options without building barriers. By doing that, we can make them aware of the purpose and human progress that can be achieved.

​For example, our graduate scheme attracts a high percentage of young women from around the world. Our company website regularly champions their efforts, with interviews and case studies designed to share their views on matters such as engineering and leadership. We support an​d promote other initiatives, such as Female Leader Engineer and Women in Manufacturing.

Female Leader Engineer is an initiative that encourages newly graduated women in Sweden to meet and learn from their peers. The scheme creates awareness about gender issues and challenges long-held structural expectations about women in their careers. It also makes it easier for young women to make connections and share their experiences working in what have traditionally been male-dominated sectors. Sandvik Coromant wants to provide female engineer students with a broad and non-stereotypical view on leadership and introduce all young people to the possibility of pursuing a career in our industry.

Women in Manufacturing (WiM) is the only US trade association dedicated to providing year-round support to women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing industry. Sandvik Coromant supports Women in Manufacturing as a corporate member and as a Founding Sponsor of the WiM Education Foundation.

The manufacturing and engineering industry offers an abundance of exciting, rewarding and well-paid careers, and we will continue to work tirelessly to ensure such opportunities are available to all. We have a chance to push the industry in a better direction. This is why we support the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals and focus on socioeconomic and environmental aspects that will contribute to a better, more sustainable world. What's more, we have chosen to take one step further and drive an internal sustainable force to Make the Shift by 2030.

Sandvik Coromant and the Sandvik Group are committed to using engineering and innovation to make the shift that will drive more sustainable business. Our aim is to lead this shift and be the innovative business partner that our customers need by making sustainability part of every aspect of business, delivering value for everyone, everywhere.​



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