Our employees

As a company and as individuals, we act with integrity and commit to the highest standards of business ethics. We promote equal opportunity, foster diversity and we create a no-harm-to-anyone work environment across our organization.

Our values are ingrained in our culture and connect us all as One Bekaert team. We act with integrity · We earn trust · We are irrepressible! (GRI 102-16)

Embracing diversity

At Bekaert, we believe in working together to achieve better performance. As a truly global company, we embrace diversity across all levels in the organization, which is a major source of strength for our company. This applies to diversity in terms of nationality, cultural background, age or gender, but also in terms of capabilities, business experience, insights and views.

The Bekaert population counts about 50 nationalities and employment in 40 countries around the world. This nationality diversity  is mirrored in all levels of the organization as well as in the composition of the Board of Directors. (GRI 405-1)

Nationality diversity (31 December 2017) # people # nationalities # non-native* % non-native
Board of Directors 15
6 40%
Bekaert Group Executive (BGE) 9
Senior Vice Presidents 16 7 6 38%
Next leadership level (**) 87 17 39 45%
Total Leadership Team 112 19 48 43%
(*) Non-native definition = other nationality than the one of the mother company’s social seat (i.e.Belgium)
(**) Next leadership level = B13 and above managers excluding BGE and Senior Vice Presidents (Hay classification reference)

The manufacturing character of Bekaert’s operations clarify a predominantly male population, particularly among operators and white collar technicians. (GRI 405-1)

Gender diversity # people % male % female
Operators 21 750
95% 5%
White collars 5 895
71% 29%
Management 1 668 82% 18%
Total Bekaert employees 29 313 89% 11%

Bekaert is developing a recruitment and promotion policy which is aimed at gradually driving more diversity, including gender diversity.

This is visible in the broader diversity at the level of the Board of Directors and of the Bekaert Leadership team. Information about gender diversity in the Board of Directors can be found in the Annual Report 2017 (chapter Report of the Board: Corporate Governance).

Gender diversity in the Board of Directors and in the Top Leadership Team of Bekaert: (GRI 405-1)
Gender diversity (31 December 2017) # people % male % female
Board of Directors 15 67% 33%
Bekaert Group Executive (BGE) 9 78% 22%
Senior & next leadership level (*) 74 76% 24%
Total Leadership Team 83 76% 24%
(*) Senior Vice Presidents and B-13 and above managers (Hay classification reference) excluding BGE.

By 2025, Bekaert aims to reach a gender diversity ratio of 33% at each leadership level.

Age diversity in the Bekaert's highest governance bodies: (GRI 405-1)
Age diversity (31 December 2017) # people 30-50 years old over 50 years old 
Board of Directors 15 20% 80%
Bekaert Group Executive (BGE) 9 22% 78%
Total highest governance bodies 24 21% 79%

Employment data

Segment   TOTAL
  EMEA North America Latin America Asia Pacific BBRG   
Blue collars 5419 1 053 4 848 8 722 1 708  21 750
Male 4 762 986 4 733 8 492 1 675  20 648
Female 657 67 115 230 33  1 102
White collars 1 414 203 1 670 1 811 797  5 895
Male 919 127 1 159 1 381 586  4 172
Female 495 76 511 430 211  1 723
Management 653 154 255 513 93  1 668
Male 545 129 222 400 73 1 369
Female 108 25 33 113 20 299
TOTAL Male 6 226 1 242 6 114 10 273 2 334 26 189
TOTAL Female 1 260 168 659 773 264 3 124
GRAND TOTAL 7 486 1 410 6 773 11 046 2 598 29 313

(GRI 102-8)

Most people employed by Bekaert have a permanent contract. Employees with a temporary contract are usually on the payroll of external organizations and agencies (Special Economic Zones, Employment agencies) and are hence not included in the Bekaert payroll numbers. The total workforce number of Bekaert, including temporary contracts, is about 30 000.

Most Bekaert employees work full-time. The part-time employment share is relatively limited and differs by region.

Full-time equivalent employment data by segment:
FTE  Segment   TOTAL
  EMEA North America Latin America Asia Pacific BBRG   
Blue collars 5 391 1 044 4 848 8 659 1 704 21 646
Male 4 738 979 4 733 8 442 1 671 20 563
Female 653 65 115 217 33  1 083
White collars 1 384 196 1 645 1 808 790 5 824
Male 919 122 1 159 1 381 582  4 163
Female 465 75 486 427 208  1 661
Management 650 154 249 510 92  1 665
Male 544 129 222 397 72  1 364
Female 106 25 27 113 20  291
TOTAL Male 6 201 1 230 6 114 10 220 2 325 26 090
TOTAL Female 1 224 165 628 757 261 3 036
GRAND TOTAL 7 425 1 395 6 742 10 977 2 586 29 125

(GRI 102-8)

Respecting human rights

Bekaert is firmly committed to complying with national legislations and collective labor agreements. Bekaert adheres to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the treaties and recommendations of the International Labor Organization.

We are committed to respect the rights and dignity of each employee. We promote equal opportunity and do not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment on the basis of age, race, nationality, social or ethnic descent, gender, physical disability, sexual preference, religion, political preference, or union membership. We recognize and appreciate the cultural identity of our teams in all countries in which we operate and do business.

The recruitment, remuneration, application of employment conditions, training, promotion and career development of our employees are based on professional qualifications only. 
(GRI 102-12)

Code of Conduct

Our hiring policy states that every new employee receives a copy of our Code of Conduct, which explains our policies and procedures as well as the behaviors we expect from all our employees. 

In 2017 we repeated and further extended the annual process of renewed commitment to the Bekaert Code of Conduct. All managers worldwide and all white collars with access to the Bekaert online global learning platform were required to read the Bekaert Code of Conduct, to pass a test on business ethics cases, and to renew their commitment to the principles of the Code. White collars who do not (yet) have access to this online tool, were required to express their commitment by signing a compliance form. 

100% of the managers renewed their commitment to the Code of Conduct in 2017. The first roll-out of the process to white collars worldwide has been implemented according to a roadmap which is in process.  The Code of Conduct has also been attached to all new labor contracts of operators and white collars worldwide.

It is our goal to reach full annual commitment results from managers and white collars and to attach the integral Code of Conduct to all existing and new labor contracts of operators worldwide by 2020. 

Our Code of Conduct covers key areas regarding human rights, child labor and forced labor. 
(GRI 102-16 +GRI 408-1 + GRI 409-1)

Remuneration & Benefits

We offer competitive salaries and benefits designed to enhance the financial, physical and overall well-being of our employees and their families. Our offerings differ country to country and are often adapted to local social security policies.  We provide a wide range of employee benefits that may include retirement benefits, healthcare plans, service awards, labor accident disability coverage and paid leave. For detailed information on employee benefits we refer to section 6.15  of the annual report. (GRI 201-3)

Benefits provided to full-time and part-time employees by significant locations of operation (> 1000 employees).
 Benefit Belgium  Slovakia
China  Chile  Peru US  Indonesia
 Life insurance   yes yes yes  yes  yes yes  yes
 Health care  yes no yes  yes  yes yes  yes
 Disability coverage  yes yes yes  yes  yes yes  yes
 Parental leave  yes  yes yes  yes  yes yes  yes
 Retirement provision  yes yes no  yes  no yes  yes
 Stock ownership  no no no  no  no no  no

These benefits are not provided to "interim workers" who are not on the Bekaert payroll.
(GRI 401-2)

In 2017 we implemented a global travel insurance policy benefiting all our employees and 3rd parties who travel on our request. The new policy replaces the previous policies by region. The insurance includes an app that gives real-time travel security information, allowing us to locate & inform employees immediately in case of need. 

Performance Reviews

In order to stimulate high performance, commitment, and continuous development of all employees, the group targets are deployed into team and personal targets for everyone. Bekaert’s performance management system enables the evaluation of teams and individuals as they relate to the set targets, as well as their way of working. In 2017, we put more emphasis on incorporating the 8 key Bekaert leadership behaviors into the way of working part of the performance review. The performance management process includes two-way personal development reviews, transparency, feedforward and leadership behavior. 

In 2018 we will redesign our performance management process and implement a new supporting tool. We will continue along the way of the evolution we have been making in the past years: better goal alignment and sharing, more attention to the way of working, continuous feedback loops and engaging conversations.

Percentage of employees who received a performance review in 2017 (1):
PDR 2017
(1) Excluding BBRG. Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group is in process of implementing similar reporting data.
(GRI 404-3)

Communicating with and engaging our people

People engagement and empowerment have been key success factors all along our transformation journey. We empower our teams with responsibility, authority and accountability, and count on the engagement of every Bekaert employee in driving a higher-level performance. (GRI 102-43 + GRI 102-44)
  • The success of Bekaert’s global excellence programs: BMS (Bekaert Manufacturing System); BCE (Bekaert Customer Excellence); BeCare (Bekaert’s safety excellence program); the SCE program (Supply Chain Excellence); and the recently added Fit for Growth program aimed at driving functional excellence and capability throughout Bekaert, lies not only in the respective program tools and dedicated deployment approach - it is also a result of the enthusiasm and engagement of our teams around the world. They are making change really happen. 
  • In September 2017, Bekaert organized a global employee survey. It was the first time that the company held a survey of all of its employees worldwide. The theme of the survey was ‘Your Voice Counts’ and we invited all colleagues from Bekaert subsidiaries (excluding the joint ventures and the Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group plants) to participate. Thanks to an impressive response rate of 91%, we were able to get a clear understanding of the engagement level of our employees and which elements are driving it. The total engagement score from 20 667 managers, white collar workers and operators was 82%. Employees especially appreciated the culture of openness towards improvement, the empowerment they feel in their job, the great team spirit and the willingness of their team to get things done. In short, team morale is high. The survey acts as a barometer of employee engagement and provides areas for improvement, which are taken on through concrete action plans. We intend to repeat the survey every two years. 
  • The Bekaert Intranet is a place where employees can share and obtain knowledge, find relevant information fast, connect with colleagues, collaborate with team members on common development programs, and actively contribute to impactful communications across the company. Moreover, the company’s internal social media platform is an intensively used tool to share best practices, celebrations and ideas.
  • The CEO of Bekaert invites all managers worldwide to participate in the annual International Management Conference and several webcasts. Every quarter, a global internal communication cascade is deployed throughout the organization, so that the information on Bekaert’s performance and actions is being shared to all employees in all locations worldwide.
How to Drive True Engagement in the Workplace

Bekaert Lipetsk (Russia) leads the way!

Bekaert Lipetsk’s outstanding results in the Global Engagement Survey have triggered the attention of Bekaert teams worldwide. Their approach has now become an inspiring story of empowerment and engagement across the Group. 

All 300 employees of our plant in Lipetsk are stimulated to always demonstrate authentic leadership. Respect, care and trust form the foundations of each working relationship in Bekaert Lipetsk and the absence of hierarchical barriers stimulates very open communication. The team feels empowered rather than controlled. The enthusiasm of the team also shows in the performance of the plant. Bekaert Lipetsk leads in many ways.

Trade unions and collective bargaining agreements

We recognize the right of any employee to join or to refrain from joining a trade union. 82% of our employees worldwide are covered by collective bargaining agreements.

Agreements with trade unions are at locally concluded and include the following elements: 
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Right to refuse unsafe work
  • Joint management-employee health and safety committees
  • Participation of worker representatives in health and safety
  • Inspections, audits, and accident investigations
  • Training and education
  • Complaints mechanism
  • Periodic inspections

(GRI 102-41 + GRI 403-4 + GRI 407-1)

Learning and development

We champion talent nurturing through career development and life-long learning. We attach great importance to providing challenging career and personal development opportunities to our employees. Training programs not only include technical and function specific training, but also leadership modules that help our people develop and cooperate in a global business environment. 

In 2017, we further expanded our offerings on our internal Learning & Development portal and we stepped up the roll-out to white collars. The portal now also enables to keep track of the long-term personal development actions and opportunities. It provides an overview of all available trainings, both traditional classroom courses and e-learning modules, and allows employees to request external trainings as well.

In addition, in 2017, Bekaert established ‘Bekaert University’. This University will develop our team and talent so that our people, individually and in team, can achieve the best of their potential. Bekaert University is all about continuously building the capability of the individual and the organization. It will also be home to different Academies that are meant to accelerate and sustain the transformation process the company is undergoing.

Average hours of training per employee

On average, 50 hours of training per employee took place in 2017.(1)

Bekaert Learning hours 2017
(1): BBRG excluded
(GRI 404-1)