Steps forward to close the Gender pay gap at Infineum UK

DEI - 24 May 2022

Infineum’s purpose is to create a sustainable future through innovative chemistry, and inclusion and diversity (I&D) is a key enabler of this aspiration. We know that each of our employees has a valuable contribution to make through their diversity, so our open and inclusive environment is critical to allow employees to succeed.

We are pleased to announce that in this fifth year of reporting on our Gender pay gap, the gap is at its lowest yet. While Infineum UK Ltd still has a gender pay gap, progress has been made, which can be seen in our figures.

In this article EVP Innovation and Technology Rebecca Oldfield reflects on the progress made so far, while also discussing next steps and longer term aspirations.

How do you feel about Infineum UK getting from 25% Gender pay gap in 2017 to 14% in 2021?

I am really delighted to see the massive progress we’ve made in reducing our gender pay gap over five years, and I am proud of everyone in Infineum for the conscious and sustained efforts to achieve these results. While I am encouraged that our gender pay gap is well below the UK national average, I also know we still have a lot more to do, and I am fully committed to taking steps to close the gap further.

What do you think has contributed to this?

People say that you get what you measure, and our commitment back in 2009 to measure our progress towards a more diverse and inclusive organisation has undoubtedly been at the core of our success so far. This transparent commitment to steward our impact, including through the gender pay gap report, has driven multiple improvements in the way we recruit, train, develop, lead and nurture our employees, so that we have greater diversity across all levels and roles, and everyone has the opportunity to thrive. This focus has led to more inclusive work practices and policies, an active I&D community, affinity groups, targeted mentoring programmes and radically different recruitment principles compared with a decade ago. As a result, more than 40% of our workforce in the UK are women, and 32% of senior management roles in the UK are held by women.

What more can be done?

We should be under no illusion that the job is complete! We can and will continue to take steps to close the gap further, and other organisations have shown that it is possible, even in STEM industries, to achieve gender pay gaps well below 10%. The two biggest levers will be recruitment (to increase the representation of females in junior roles) and developing this growing pipeline of future leaders to be ready to take on senior roles. This requires diligent attention to hiring, development, mentoring, and above all, commitment from the most senior leaders to make it happen. I believe we have everything in place to achieve our aims and create a diverse, thriving, gender balanced community in Infineum.

What figure do you think is acceptable and why?

Last time I looked, there were pretty much the same number of men and women in the global population. If you assume that talent is equally distributed across this population (which I do), it makes sense that we should have equal representation of men and women in all roles and at all levels of organisations. If we combine this aspiration to our firm commitment and obligation to equal pay for the same roles, then the aspired state should be 0%. The world is never quite as black and white as this, so of course there will be fluctuations along the way, but I believe that this should be our aim over the long term.

How long do you think it will take to get Infineum to this level?

At our current rate of progress, we hope to be able to close our gender pay gap within 5-10 years. The next key milestone would be to reduce our mean gender pay gap to <10% and I look forward to seeing us achieve this in the next few years.

How does this report fit in with Inclusiveness and Diversity at Infineum?

I think it’s important to recognise that gender is just one facet of what makes us different as individuals, and there are many other forms of diversity which make up the wealth of difference we have at Infineum. The gender pay gap report shines a light on gender balance in organisations, and I commend the UK government for highlighting this very important aspect. But in Infineum we have long recognised that diversity of many forms, as well as a truly inclusive workplace, are the key to a thriving, successful and innovative community. My experience of being part of our ethnicity affinity group, and our recent conversations on race, have opened my eyes to the fact that targeting gender balance is just scratching the surface of true diversity. My core belief is that if opportunities are distributed based on talent rather than privilege, then we have a route to creating a diverse and inclusive society, with all the social, economic, and environmental benefits this brings.

My commitment to all our current and future employees is to try to act in line with this belief in everything I do, and work towards a more inclusive, diverse, and engaging environment for everyone.

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