In 2021, we launched a number of initiatives to improve our gender diversity and to make Oerlikon a more attractive workplace for women. We hosted our first “topwomentech” jobinar to attract and recruit female talents. The goal of the event was to provide female candidates with insights into our culture, our work environment and the career prospects we offer. We registered 58 participants (the average for these jobinars is 35 to 40), of whom 16 participated live. Engagement was excellent with 25 questions asked during the presentation and discussion. Following the jobinar, 66% of the participants indicated their interest to work for Oerlikon, and 58 applications were received. Some of the applicants are being interviewed for positions at Oerlikon. Based on the response and success, we intend to host further “topwomentech” jobinars to promote Oerlikon as an employer of choice for female engineers.
In 2021, we also introduced the concept of employee support groups, which are backed by senior executives as sponsors. A solid framework, developed through benchmarking with peers, is provided to these groups, who can also bring in external experts to train and help them build up knowledge, while opening up two-sided exchanges.
To kick off this initiative, an Oerlikon Women’s Council was set up, with the mission to cultivate a culture of inclusivity, visibility and work/life balance for women. The council aims to foster gender diversity by identifying actions and implementing plans to continuously increase the share of women in leadership roles. This initiative is run by women, for women, although men who are interested in making a positive contribution are welcome to join. We are using the experience gained from this council as a blueprint for further employee support groups.
Oerlikon respects individual perspectives regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or culture. To encourage organization-wide awareness and adoption of this philosophy, in December, we organized Oerlikon’s first Diversity Conference, themed “I See You”.
The conference serves as a platform to inform, reflect and exchange ideas on the topics surrounding diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and to pave a progressive and transformative approach to how we all engage in DEI at Oerlikon. Diversity concerns the representation of various identities and differences. Equity is about ensuring fair and equitable treatment, access and opportunity to all. Inclusion means endeavoring to create an environment in which all people are respected and valued. All three are vital values that we want to continue to cultivate, integrate and live by at Oerlikon.
Our goal was to celebrate differences within the organization and to recognize that although we are One Oerlikon, each of us is unique – and that we respect and value all the members of our team on their own terms. The program included a series of external and internal speakers and panel discussions to raise awareness of DEI and its importance and why Oerlikon embraces it as a principle and a business value. Among the key takeaways was the fact that there is a direct link between DEI and competitive success. To participate fully in that success, it is essential for every member of our team to understand how a DEI mindset is key to enacting Oerlikon’s sustainability strategy.
As part of our social commitment to the local communities in which we work, Oerlikon responded when a village located near our facility in Chennai required assistance in providing classroom capacity for 125 middle school students. When we learned that the locally managed school authority had no proper schoolrooms available, we assumed responsibility for funding and overseeing the construction of a 1 200 square foot building with three classrooms and one bathroom. The total budget for the project is more than CHF 30 000 (INR 2.589 million). Construction of the middle school building, where 65 girls and 60 boys will attend classes, is scheduled to be completed by June 2022.