How can the Unilever Future Leaders Programme prepare you for business leadership? A graduate tells all...
Mission: We believe that as a business we have a responsibility to our consumers and to the communities in which we have a presence. Around the world we invest in local economies and develop people’s skills inside and outside of Unilever. And through our business and brands, we ...
How can the Unilever Future Leaders Programme prepare you for business leadership? A graduate tells all...
How are we innovating our food brands while keeping sustainability at our heart? Damon Grimes of Talenti Gelato explains...
On any given day, two billion people use Unilever products to look good, feel good and get more out of life.
With more than 400 brands focused on health and wellbeing, no company touches so many people’s lives in so many different ways.
Our portfolio ranges from nutritionally balanced foods to indulgent ice creams, affordable soaps, luxurious shampoos and everyday household care products. We produce world-leading brands including Lipton, Knorr, Dove, Axe, Hellmann’s and Omo, alongside trusted local names such as Blue Band, Pureit and Suave.
For us, sustainability is integral to how we do business. With 7 billion people on our planet, the earth’s resources can be strained. This means sustainable growth is the only acceptable model of growth for our business. The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan sets out to decouple our growth from our environmental impact, while at the same time increasing our positive social impact. Our Plan has three big goals that by 2020 will enable us to:
- Help more than a billion people to improve their health and well-being.
- Halve the environmental footprint of our products.
- Source 100% of our agricultural raw materials sustainably and enhance the livelihoods of people across our value chain.
We believe that as a business we have a responsibility to our consumers and to the communities in which we have a presence. Around the world we invest in local economies and develop people’s skills inside and outside of Unilever. And through our business and brands, we run a range of programmes to promote hygiene, nutrition, empowerment and environmental awareness.
CAREERS WITH UNILEVER
A job at Unilever is a career made by you, with development opportunities, benefits and a working culture that embraces diversity. So whether you’re looking for an internship, graduate opportunities, or a job opening to progress your professional career, at Unilever you can shape your own path as you work with the brands and people that drive our sustainable business growth.
Take our more than 400 powerhouse brands that can be found in seven out of ten households around the world, and the 12 brands that each generate annual sales of over €1 billion.
Take the 2 billion consumers who use our products every day and the hundreds of millions of lives we’re improving through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. Take everything that makes us a world-leading company. Then double it.
This is the aim we’ve set ourselves. And we want to do it at the same time as reducing our environmental impact.
We know that ultimately, to achieve our huge ambition, it is our people who will make the big difference. If you are interested in becoming part of a leading-edge company, driving your own career and working with outstanding brands and outstanding people to deliver sustainable business growth with us, then you’ve come to the right place.
BIG JOBS WITH BIG RESPONSIBILITIES
We’re looking for people at all career stages: from pre- and post-graduate to those who have already started work. From the moment you join us, you’ll be stretched and challenged by big jobs with big responsibilities. We believe this is the best way to learn and develop.
You’ll have a broad range of opportunities. We offer a variety of different experiences: across diverse functions and categories around the world, with particularly exciting possibilities in the developing and emerging markets.
You could become a business leader, work on iconic brands, push boundaries in the lab, create ground-breaking campaigns, build award-winning customer relationships and develop specialist knowledge and expertise.
EXCELLING WITH UNILEVER
A career at Unilever will see you join one of the world’s most attractive employers. We have gained our reputation as one of the world's most admired employers by providing an environment where individuals can achieve their goals, both professionally and personally.
At Unilever we offer you more ways to take advantage of development opportunities, more room to succeed and grow, attractive reward and benefits packages and numerous directions in which to pursue a career, made by you.
Our people have a wide range of skills, from engineering to chemistry, from marketing to design. To excel with Unilever, your specialist experience will be underpinned by strong general capabilities, such as communication skills, change management expertise and commercial insight.
Crucially, you will share our four core values: integrity, respect, pioneering and responsibility.
Once appointed, you will be able to take control of your career, with solid support from our HR team and your manager. On-the-job development will be complemented by formal learning and development, including face-to-face coaching – perhaps at our dedicated development centres in London and Singapore – and online learning options.
A WINNING CULTURE
Unilever has a winning culture where all employees are encouraged to reach their full potential and be themselves.
Our working environment is stimulating, due to the ambition of our business, the dynamism of our industry and the high calibre of our people.
Diversity at Unilever is about inclusion, embracing differences, creating possibilities and growing together for better business performance.
Unilever is committed to becoming a truly diverse and inclusive company. This is not only just the right thing to do, it's crucial to helping us reach our target of doubling the size of our business while reducing our environmental impact.
To deliver these business goals, it is vital we have people with the right talent, skills and creativity. We believe that having a gender-balanced, engaged workforce that reflects our consumer base is a critical element of our long-term growth strategy.
Creating an inclusive environment that enables all individuals to perform to their full potential, irrespective of who they are, will help us win equitably and sustainably.
We embrace diversity in our workforce. This means giving full and fair consideration to all applicants and continuing development of all employees regardless of gender, nationality, race, creed, disability, style or sexuality. We embrace diversity. We are one of the world’s most culturally mixed companies: our 174,000 employees are based in more than 150 countries and our board of directors is made up of eight nationalities and 25% women. Such diversity reflects our determination to draw on the best talent from around the world. It also means we can understand and meet the varied needs of all our global consumers.
ARE YOU INSPIRED?
Whether you’re interested in taking your career to the next level, are a graduate looking for on-the-job training through our Unilever Future Leaders Programme, or a student looking for a hands-on internship in a pioneering and fast-moving business, take a look at the opportunities at Unilever. http://unilever.com/careers-jobs/
BIG IDEAS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE MADE BY YOU
The Unilever Future Leaders Programme is about developing tomorrow’s leaders, today.
It’s designed to grow you into a manager, through hands-on learning alongside world-class experts. You’ll be hired into a function and develop your leadership skills by working on live projects which offer you all the experience you need to become ready for your first management role.
CHOOSE A UNILEVER DEPARTMENT
The first thing for you to do is decide which business area interests you the most. Unilever is such a broad company, there’s plenty to select from. But don’t worry if you find it hard to choose, you’ll get the chance to experience other functions during the programme. Regardless of which business unit you work in, you’ll be part of a team at Unilever that’s working to create better futures every day.
UNILEVER FUTURE LEADERS PROGRAMME
Great ambition requires great leaders. People like Srirup.
Srirup, a Unilever Future Leader Programme (UFLP) graduate, had the challenge of growing Lifebuoy’s share of the fiercely competitive hand soap market.
He led a marketing project that identified a gap in the market, then worked with colleagues to develop ‘the liquid soap with the 10-second germ impact’. Having shaped a unique message, he deployed it worldwide – bringing hygiene benefits to millions and more than trebling our market share.
Big ideas like this drive our business: their drivers are, in many cases, current or past UFLP graduates.
WHAT’S SO GOOD ABOUT UNILEVER’S GRADUATE PROGRAMME?
The UFLP is an intensive two-to-three-year programme that runs in 56 countries around the world. Successful applicants get the opportunity to:
Engage with some of the world’s most iconic and best-loved consumer brands
Work at the forefront of the dynamic fast moving consumer goods industry, alongside many of the sector’s brightest minds, in a company voted by students as one of the top 30 of the ‘World’s most attractive employers’ (2012 Universum survey)
Achieve international exposure and experience, across the 150 countries in which we operate
Develop the skills to be exceptional future leaders, both within Unilever and wherever life takes you
WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE?
Graduates progress through a series of ‘rotations’ – or on-the-job assignments – during their programme. The types of assignment will reflect which discipline each individual was recruited in: HR, finance, supply chain, R&D, customer development or marketing. To build essential general expertise, graduates also experience ‘cross-functional’ rotations, that is, assignments outside their core discipline.
In rotations, graduates work on projects that address real business challenges, requiring delivery against set goals. Individuals receive regular feedback and coaching on their performance from their line managers, as part of a formal on-going process to nurture their strengths and assess their development needs.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
At the end of the programme, if they have performed and developed well, each graduate is offered a managerial role. Like the rotation assignments themselves, these are real jobs, involving leadership of a strategic part of our business and, for some roles, staff management.
HOW DO I APPLY?
There are several selection stages:
Check your Unilever country website to find local UFLP postings
Complete the online application form. This could take up to 45 minutes.
Complete the online aptitude test that will be accessible as soon as you have finished the application form.
A Unilever recruiter will interview you to gauge your suitability, questioning you, for example, about your leadership experience and team member roles. The interview is likely to be by telephone but is sometimes conducted face-to-face. It can last up to one hour
A visit to an assessment centre – often a Unilever office, but sometimes on your campus – is the final selection stage. Here, groups of graduates will be asked to solve business challenges, via case studies, group exercises and presentations. The participants will be observed and assessed by senior Unilever managers
We will let you know whether you have been successful within two weeks of the final graduate assessments in your home country.
A FAIR WORLD FOR EVERYONE MADE BY YOU
THE BIG PICTURE
With 7 billion people on our planet, the earth’s resources are under immense strain.
We are living in a world where temperatures are rising, water is scarce, energy expensive, food supplies uncertain and the gap between rich and poor increasing.
We cannot close our eyes to the problems the world faces. At Unilever we believe that business must be part of the solution. But to be so, business will have to change.
Sustainable, equitable growth is the only acceptable business model.
Unilever has, from its origins, been a purpose-driven company. Today our purpose is to make sustainable living commonplace.
This means helping to build a world where everyone lives well and within the natural limits of the planet:
Brands that offer balanced nutrition, good hygiene and the confidence that comes from having clean clothes, clean hair and good skin
Products which are sustainably sourced and used in a way that protects the earth’s natural resources
Respect for the rights of the people and communities we work with throughout the world.
Our new global initiative, Project Sunlight, aims to motivate millions of people to live sustainably by taking small, everyday actions that make a big difference to the world. Discover more: www.projectsunlight.com
HOW WILL WE ACHIEVE OUR VISION?
Launched in 2010, the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan is our blueprint for sustainable growth.
The Plan is helping to drive profitable growth for our brands, save costs and fuel innovation. Our Plan sets out three big goals. Underpinning these goals are nine commitments supported by targets spanning our social, environmental and economic performance.
IMPROVING HEALTH AND WELL-BEING: By 2020 we will help more than a billion people take action to improve their health
REDUCING ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: By 2020 our goal is to halve the environmental footprint of the making and use of our products as we grow our business and well-being
ENHANCING LIVELIHOODS: By 2020 we will enhance the livelihoods of millions of people as we grow our business
We are already seeing the results of our efforts. Our focus on sustainability is driving brand growth, competitive advantage and differentiation.
UNILEVER SUSTAINABLE LIVING PLAN IN 2013
Our Plan has three big goals to achieve by 2020, underpinned by nine commitments and targets spanning our social, environmental and economic performance across the value chain. In 2013 we made good progress across our commitments. In particular we achieved strong performance for targets within our direct control. Those outside our direct control are proving more challenging. We will continue to work with others to focus on those areas where we can drive the greatest change.
SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION & COLLABORATION
By looking at our brands and product development through a sustainability lens, opportunities for innovation open up. By collaborating with partners, including not-for-profit organisations, we can leverage the skills, capabilities and networks that we don’t have.
We are determined to make the whole lifecycle of our products more sustainable – from the raw materials we source to what goes into our packaging. So, in halving our footprint, we don’t just aim to make our factories more environmentally-friendly: we also want to halve the amount of water consumers use with our products and the level of waste in their disposal. To achieve these goals we are working in partnership with many different organisations around the world, such as Oxfam, Fairtrade, Greenpeace and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil.
SMALL ACTIONS: BIG DIFFERENCE
Our alliance with consumers is just as crucial: to reduce the environmental impact of our brands, we need to encourage people to use – and dispose of – products in the right way. So, at the same time as supporting West African smallholders to farm in the best way for the planet, we are aiming to inspire our consumers – and our employees – to take small, everyday actions that could add up to a big difference.
Living sustainably is not only good for the world, it is good for our business:
Consumers want it. A more sustainable brand is often a more desirable one
Retailers want it. We are helping our customers achieve their own sustainability goals, which is deepening our relationships
It fuels innovation. The challenges of working more sustainably are inspiring us to develop new products and packaging
It helps build new markets. The developing world faces great sustainability challenges. Helping consumers meet these challenges will enable us to grow in these important regions
It saves money. Sustainable operations use less energy and packaging and reduce waste
It inspires our people. Our sustainable growth vision is galvanising our employees and making us the sort of business great people want to join
GLOBAL SUPERSTAR BRANDS MADE BY YOU
Unilever’s powerhouse brands – like Axe, Magnum, Dove and Lipton – are global superstars.
Like A-list celebrities, they are recognised all over the world, loved by millions, and seen on TV screens, smartphones and billboards everywhere. But they enjoy an intimacy and trust with their fans that few sporting heroes, musicians or actors will ever experience.
GETTING MORE OUT OF LIFE
On any given day, two billion people worldwide use a Unilever product. From food, beverages and ice cream, to household and personal care products, our well-loved brands are part of everyday life and help people feel good, look good and get more out of life.
Reflecting their global popularity, 12 of our brands each generate more than €1 billion in sales every year. And, in 2011, Dove went even further, becoming Unilever’s first €3 billion personal care brand.
Our brands may be loved and trusted but they can’t stand still: consumers keep changing so, to keep on meeting their needs, we must keep changing too.
INNOVATION IN UNILEVER
Brands and innovation are at the heart of everything we do. In Unilever, research and development (R&D) is the home of breakthrough technology for bigger, better, faster innovations.
Success for us means creating products that keep pace with changes in consumer lifestyles and that appeal to people at all income levels.
THE ROLE OF R&D
Through our expertise and knowledge, we develop great quality brands and products that consumers choose again and again. With a comprehensive portfolio of products designed to meet the needs of diverse consumers around the world, we believe we really have an opportunity to deliver timely and far-reaching impacts on society. Be it from water purifiers for home use (Pureit), or a soap bar that is proven to kill germs during hand washing (Lifebuoy Clinicare10).
The R&D function at Unilever employs over 6,000 professionals located in 20 countries spanning the globe from Mexico to Australia.
Roles range from those who break ground at the forefront of science to professional hairdressers and chefs who evaluate new products. Each role has an equally important focus: understanding the consumer, their lifestyle, needs and wants so that our brands deliver a great experience, every time.
With such a diverse set of roles, it’s no surprise that the portfolio of projects is also broad, with some taking decades to come to fruition while others deliver new products onto supermarket shelves within months.
It is this balance of long and short term projects that is crucial to Unilever R&D’s success; on the one hand correctly identifying the next breakthrough technologies and on the other being able to rapidly respond to competitor activity, or an opportunity to gain market share.
While innovation continues making our brands better, brilliant marketing keeps them at the forefront of people’s minds. There’s never been a more exciting time to start a career in Marketing at Unilever. Unilever is the second-largest advertiser in the world. We have a diverse range of more than 400 food, home and personal care brands, 12 of which generate sales in excess of €1 billion a year. Many of our brands have long-standing social missions, including Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty.
With major growth in developing and emerging markets, increasing consumer interest in sustainability and the dawn of the digital revolution, marketers must identify trends, behaviours and innovation opportunities to ensure our brands stand out and remain relevant.
With marketing critical to understanding, creating and building demand, the scope of activity is huge. Working on great categories and products in an environment that changes all the time, the pursuit of market share and volume growth is challenging and rewarding.
The job is all about engaging closely with consumers to develop a deep understanding of their preferences and needs, then lead assignments that build business and brand equity.
Whether in brand development, or brand building, our marketers have a crucial role to play in engaging with consumers, through our brands, to communicate and engage consumers in our sustainability mission.
While our brands are the real stars, our talented marketers get their share of the limelight.
In 2012, Unilever’s Chief Marketing & Communications Officer, Keith Weed, was judged International Marketer of the Year by media and marketing publishers M&M and Marketer of the Year by the UK Marketing Society
Also in 2012, our Senior Vice-President of Marketing, Marc Mathieu, was named the most powerful marketer in Britain by Marketing magazine
In 2010, Unilever was named Advertiser of the Year at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Since 1961, we have won more than 200 individual Cannes Lion awards. We won 25 Cannes Lions in Cannes, 2012.
We won three Effie awards for Axe, Dove and Lifebuoy, 2012
We won eight Spikes awards in Asia, 2012
In the 19th century we created the first ever consumer brand, Sunlight. More than a century later, our great products, cutting-edge innovation and stunning marketing mean our brands are stronger than ever. True global superstars.
"I chose to work for Unilever because I knew that it was a business with values, and a business where I could learn my profession quickly and get real responsibility. I have stayed because I have realised that the values are also expressed in a powerful moral purpose, to make sustainable living commonplace. I care about that.”
Vice President, Human Resources for UK & Ireland
London, United Kingdom
“I chose to work for Unilever because I am passionate about our purpose. It is rewarding to be part of a talented team that works to meet people’s everyday nutritional needs and helps them get more out of life. Also, Unilever offers great developmental and mentorship opportunities that turn into exciting and engaging careers. In my role, my team and I work to develop and maintain a strong partnership with our customers to truly be able help people get more out of life. We achieve this via targeting our consumers’ specific needs and providing them with delightful shopping experiences.”
Customer Development Analyst
Englewood Cliffs, United States
“I chose the Unilever Apprenticeship program because of the company’s massive reputation and history. They really look after the environment and employees. I am big on sustainability and was immediately attracted to this apprenticeship after reading about the USLP (Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan). There was a competitive salary and 9:00am-17:00pm working hours on offer.”
Brand Building Apprentice
“The Unilever Apprenticeship Programme offered the ‘full package’ – paid employment, valuable work experience with a market leading company and University study in a topic area which interested me - without incurring any debts. I am now in my third year at Unilever, I enjoy my work; I feel the path I chose was a great way to achieve a good qualification and make progress in my career.”
Research & Development Apprentice
“I first found out about Unilever when I attended a Diversity Leadership Conference they were hosting. The moment I walked into the office and saw how everyone works collaboratively in teams, I knew it was somewhere I would be happy working each day.”
Human Resources Management Trainee
I worked at Unilever full-time (More than a year)
No micromanagement Great employees
I had a good time
No cons I had a great time getting to meet new people
Advice to Management
Encourage more employee engagement
The process took 3+ months. I interviewed at Unilever (Englewood Cliffs, NJ).
Interviewed a few months back and our group of candidates were promised by the HR rep that we'd receive timely updates regarding the whole process. Two months went by and I received an email that I am still being considered. Another 3 months went by and still nothing. A generic rejection email or follow up would have been appreciated.