Our employees

Our employees are our most important asset. They create the dynamics that drive our business forward. Our corporate values bring our almost 30 000 employees together as One Bekaert team (GRI 102-18):
  • We act with integrity
  • We earn trust
  • We are irrepressible!

Employee related data

At year-end 2016 Bekaert had 28 863 employees on the payroll. (GRI 102-8)
FTE  Region   TOTAL
  EMEA North America Latin America Asia Pacific BBRG   
Blue collars 5 266 1 025 5 190 8 445 1 670  21 596
Male 4 646 962 5 067 8 261 1 621  20 557
Female 620 63 123 184 49  1 039
White collars 1 412 184 1 698 1 637 754  5 686
Male 946 117 1 219 1 204 550  4 036
Female 466 67 479 433 204  1 649
Management 620 135 256 481 90  1 582
Male 525 118 223 369 70 1 304
Female 95 17 33 112 20 277
TOTAL Male 6 116 1 197 6 509 9 834 2 241 25 897
TOTAL female 1 181 147 635 729 273 2 966
GRAND TOTAL 7 297 1 344 7 144 10 563 2 514 28 863

Breakdown by employment type

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 region (GRI 102-8):

FTE  Region   TOTAL
  EMEA North America Latin America Asia Pacific BBRG   
Blue collars 5 237 1 018 5 190 8 424 1 666.2  21 535.2
Male 4 620.4 958.2 5 067 8 245 1 617.2  20 507.8
Female 616.6 59.8 123 197 49  1 027.4
White collars 1 381.5 183.1 1 698 1 636 738.5  5 637.1
Male 938.3 116.1 1 219 1 203 543.3  4 019.7
Female 443.2 67 479 433 195.2  1 617.4
Management 616.8 135 256 481 89.7  1 578.5
Male 532.1 116 232.6 370 70.1  1 302.8
Female 93.7 19 32.4 111 19.6  275.7
TOTAL Male 6 081.8 1 190.3 6 509.6 9 818 2 230.6 25 830.3
TOTAL female 1 153.5 145.8 634.4 723 263.8 2 920.5
GRAND TOTAL 7 235.3 1 336.1 7 144 10 541 2 494.4 28 750.8

Respecting human rights and embracing diversity

At Bekaert, we believe in working together to achieve better performance. We embrace diversity 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.

We are committed to providing equal opportunity in employment and to respecting the rights and dignity of each employee. We recognize and appreciate the cultural identity in the countries in which we operate and do business. 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.
The recruitment, remuneration, application of employment conditions, training, promotion and career development of our employees are based on professional qualifications only. (GRI 102-12)

We support the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the conventions, and the recommendations of its International Labor Organization. 

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 with regard to business ethics. All new managers are required to sign a compliance statement. (GRI 102-16)

Our Code of Conduct covers key areas regarding human rights, child labor and forced labor. (GRI 408-1) (GRI 409-1) 
  • Management: all managers have received the Bekaert Code of Conduct and obtained specific training. Their commitment to comply with the principles of the Code of Conduct is renewed and monitored annually.
  • White & blue collars: all employees have received the Code of Conduct. The Code has been integrated in all new labor contracts worldwide.

Remuneration and Benefits

We offer competitive salaries and benefits designed to enhance the financial, physical and well-being of our employees and their families. While our offerings differ country to country and are often integrated with local social security, 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 more 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 that are not provided to temporary employees (as "interim workers"), by significant locations of operation (> 1000 employees) (GRI 401-2)
 Benefit Belgium  Slovakia
China  Chile  Peru US
 Life insurance   yes yes yes  yes  yes yes
 Health care  yes no yes  yes  yes yes
 Disability coverage  yes yes yes  yes  yes yes
 Parental leave  yes  yes yes  yes  yes yes
 Retirement provision  yes yes no  yes  no yes
 Stock ownership  no no no  no  no no

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 2016, we have further improved the performance management process including two-way personal development reviews, transparency, feedforward and leadership behavior.

Percentage of employees who received a performance review: (2) (GRI 404-3)

PDR 2016

(2): Ex-Bekaert entities within BBRG included. Ex-Bridon entities are in the process of implementing similar reporting data by 2017.

Communicating with and engaging our people

(GRI 102-43) (GRI 102-44) (GRI 407-1) (GRI 102-41) (GRI 403-4)
People engagement

We empower our teams with responsibility, authority and accountability and count on the engagement of every Bekaert employee in driving a higher-level performance. 
  • The success of Bekaert’s excellence programs, BMS (Bekaert Manufacturing System) and BCE (Bekaert Customer Excellence) lays not only in the respective program tools and dedicated deployment approach but is also a result of the explicit engagement of our teams around the world. They are making things happen that go beyond initial expectations. In the course of 2016 we also launched a Supply Chain Excellence (SCE) program, which covers the total supply chain, with a primary focus on Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP), inventory management, production planning and master data structure and content.
  • Also in 2016, Bekaert kicked off the implementation of BeCare, a new, global safety excellence program. BeCare aims at creating a no-harm, risk-free work environment for all our employees and for anyone working at or visiting our premises. The BeCare program will help us define and implement the safety practices that benefit all Bekaert locations worldwide and ultimately, lead to better safety performance and a true safety culture.
  • The Bekaert annual target framework, which sets the objectives, goals, strategies and measures for the company and for every individual employee now clearly deploys the five core strategies into every employee’s priorities for the year. As a result, the company’s core strategies are translated into concrete actions and development measures for all Bekaert colleagues.
  • To understand the overall engagement level of our managers and their alignment with the Company’s strategies, a Pulse Survey was organized at the end of 2016. The excellent response rate (87% of the 1500 managers invited to participate) was a first indication of the very positive results in terms of sustainable engagement. The Bekaert managers especially appreciated the clear communication on the company’s strategic direction. They also confirmed that they understand how they can contribute to the results, now and in the future. This Pulse Survey for managers was a first step towards a global, ‘all-employee’ engagement survey which will be organized in the second half of 2017.
  • Early 2016, we upgraded our internal communications platform by creating and launching a new Bekaert Intranet. It 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.
  • The CEO of Bekaert invites all management 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.
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. 

All agreements with trade unions are at a local level and include the following elements: 
  • Personal protective equipment 
  • 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 
  • Right to refuse unsafe work 
  • Periodic inspections 
Learning and development

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.
Back in 2014 Bekaert launched an internal Learning & Development portal. In the first phase, the web based tool was implemented for all managers worldwide and in 2016 we expanded the roll-out for white collars. It provides an overview of all available trainings, both traditional classroom courses and e-learning modules. The portal also serves as a monitoring tool since it keeps track of each manager’s training history.

On average, more than 37 hours of training per employee took place in 2016. (1) (GRI 404-1)
Average training hours

(1): BBRG excluded