H14. Employees

In 2018, Essity comprised on average 47,222 (46,385, 42,149) employees in some 50 countries, of whom 34% (34, 32) are women. The employee turnover rate is 15% (14, 13). The majority of Essity’s employees are permanent/full-time employees and a minor share, about 5%, are temporary/part-time employees.

Individual development and salary statistics

In 2018, 88% (92, 90) of white-collar employees participated in performance management reviews. The corresponding number for blue-collar employees is 78% (80, 85).

Essity strives to provide salaries aligned with market terms, based on the executive’s position and local labor market. Unjustified salary differences should not exist. In three of the countries, France, Germany and Sweden, where Essity has most employees in wholly owned operations, salary analyses are conducted annually that include comparisons between men’s and women’s salaries. In France, salaries for women on managerial levels range between 96% and 106% of their male counterparts, depending on the position held. For women on non-managerial levels, the corresponding figures were between 101% and 105%. In Germany, salaries for women on managerial levels range between 85% and 88% of their male counterparts, depending on the position held. For women on non-managerial levels, the corresponding figures were between 97% and 129%. In Sweden, salaries for women on managerial levels range between 88% and 96% of their male counterparts, depending on the position held. For women on non-managerial levels, the corresponding figures were between 97% and 102%. Essity continuously endeavors to narrow unjustified pay gaps and differences in other employment conditions.


One prioritized area is to develop the potential of all employees and Essity’s strategy is that most of this development should take place in daily work. Essity offers a global leadership platform, and approximately 700 managers took part in 2018. 290 people participated in the mandatory one-day onboarding program for all newly appointed managers. 240 participated in Core 1, a six-day program to develop managers who have been in their role for six to 12 months with a focus on leadership skills. Core 2 is conducted for more experienced managers, which is a leadership program to develop people’s capabilities to lead in a complex environment, engage people and manage change. Creating Value is another course to further strengthen participants’ capabilities in strategic leadership areas. In 2018, a total of 70 people took part in this program. During 2018, great emphasis was put on managing change and more than 100 managers took part in training about change management.

Other programs include the Hygiene Academy, which offers training in brand activities, digital marketing and innovation. 490 people in total took part in these programs. Essity has also established a training program in sustainability with the aim of improving understanding of sustainability’s impact on products and services, customers and consumers.

The average number of training hours per employee was 15.


In 2018, the proportion of women among Essity’s top management was 25% (36, 33). Among senior management, the proportion of women was 26% (27, 25) and 27% (23, 27) among senior/middle management.

Senior management comprised 17 (18, 21) different nationalities and the corresponding figure was 39 (36, 32) for senior/middle management. Encouraging greater diversity is part of Essity’s leadership platform and succession planning.

Leveraging a strong winning culture

Essity regularly carries out employee surveys. Employees are the company’s main asset and an employee survey was held in 2018 that covered 31 statements at five levels. The statements were updated to reflect Essity’s focus on hygiene and health and the company’s new Beliefs & Behaviors. To achieve greater efficiency, the survey was carried out digitally for the first time. The results are expressed as indexes for Care, Committed, Courage, Collaboration and Engagement, as well as an overall Essity index. The response rate var 80% (88% in 2015). Essity’s index var 75 (72 in 2015) on a scale of 1–100. Based on the outcome of the employee survey, all teams will develop and implement action plans to further strengthen Essity and make the company an even better place to work.

Essity’s employee index

Essity’s employee index (bar chart)

Employee relations

Union involvement varies among Essity’s countries of operation, but on average 63% (61, 54) of Essity’s employees are covered by collective agreements.

There are health and safety committees on which representatives of about 82% (86) of employees serve.

The notice period in connection with organizational changes in the Group varies, but averages about five weeks.

WASH pledge

As a hygiene and health company, Essity wants its employees to enjoy first-class standards when it comes to workplace hygiene. Essity reported its WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) Pledge for the first time in 2016. The pledge is an initiative linked to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). By signing the pledge, Essity undertakes to comply with a prescribed workplace WASH standard for its wholly owned units within three years. This includes areas such as workplace sanitation and health issues, as well as training to improve employees’ awareness.