In order to test our 5 Key Insights, we gave Malin Ljung Eiborn a call. She is Director of Sustainability and Public Affairs at BillerudKorsnäs, one of IGEday’s partnership companies. We asked her about the company’s view on equality from a sustainability perspective, linked to our 5 Key Insights.
Q: Our first Key Insight is that girls love technology. What does BillerudKorsnäs think about that? Is it true?
A: Yes! We see a great interest in what we do among girls. One of the main reasons why we work with IGEday is that we want to inspire even more girls to love technology. Especially when it comes to our sustainability work and how technology can be used to save the planet. Furthermore, the forest itself is something many people value and relate to. For us, it will be crucial to tap into this interest. We really need more women in our industry.
Q: Companies need to be better at understanding Generation Z. Their online attention span is 10 seconds, like a SnapChat. Do you think BillerudKorsnäs is good at understanding the next generation?
A: No. We try, but we could be better at it. Both because we have a great need to recruit the coming years due to staff retiring, but also because we need the next generation to stay innovative. We need the next generation to be able to reach our mission – to challenge the conventional for a sustainable future. We need to talk with them, understand them and attract them to join our journey.
Q: One piece of feedback BillerudKorsnäs was given after this year’s IGEday was that your safety presentation was too long and time-consuming. Will you do the same next year, or make it short to fit this generation’s attention span?
A: If our CEO heard this feedback she would applaud it. The safety presentation is deliberately extensive. Safety comes first in everything we do and we will definitely do it the same way next year. But maybe we should utilize the first 10 seconds better!
Q: Math is perceived as difficult by many young girls. What consequences does low self-esteem, among girls, in particular, have for you as a company?
A: The direct consequence is that we don’t get enough female applicants for our summer jobs and vacancies in general. One reason might be that girls don’t dare to apply, thinking it would be too difficult or not for them, when this is not true at all.
Q: A majority of the girls told us that a personal connection is key for them to pursue engineering. How does BillerudKorsnäs work to strengthen personal connections?
A: We have a mentorship program in our Growth Program and are developing mentorship programs for our trainees. This fall, we are launching an Accelerate Program for Females, to help us develop female leaders. For managers, we continuously run leadership programs. For us, it is also important to build female networks and we encourage that through IGEday, FEN (Female Engineer Network) and that we have engineers and technicians present at all events we participate in at universities and so on.
Q: Last question. We believe that gender diversity needs to be addressed at the C-suite level. Your CEO is female and supportive in this matter. Why is that so important?
A: Petra Einarsson is our CEO and she very engaged in equality and diversity matters at BillerudKorsnäs. First of all, her deliberate view of equality is open and inclusive. Not only does she speak freely about the subject. She has first-hand experience from previous jobs. She often says that she has got this far thanks to brave men, and despite the fact that some women might find this intimidating I believe it is true. The minority can’t do this work alone.