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The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day is ‘Choose to Challenge’ and that’s something that the women who work at Holchem, Kilco and Kersia do every day. The company has always been committed to ensuring that all women have the same opportunities as men, and that every single member of the team is treated as an equal. We’re marking the day by featuring some of the women who work here at both companies and their thoughts on women working within the hygiene solutions industry.
Nikki Bellamy is a Technical Service Manager at Holchem and has worked for the company for 21 years. Talking about opportunities for women within hygiene solutions sector Nicola believes that not enough women work in the sector because of the long unsociable working hours and the male dominated sector may feel intimidating to some women. She explains:
“Field sales and support is traditionally a very male orientated role. I think that the opportunities are out there for scaling up female numbers within the field and balancing out the ratio of women vs men. My personal opinion is that females bring unique and valuable attributes to the world of sales, service and support with a natural ability to engage with people on a personal level. I think there is a benefit to attracting more females into the sector however they may be deterred from the role as it does include unpredictable working hours, travel and overnight stays which are not conductive to a healthy work/life balance.”
Sarah O'Grady, Pig and Poultry Sales Manager at Kilco, Kersia UK/IR, agrees with Nicola “Our industry has traditionally demonstrated a higher ratio of men to women within each given sector, and in some respects, it can mean women need to work harder to build relationships based on trust and mutual respect in the first instance, especially for a young female team working at the farm level. It would be great to see more women in management within our customer base, to demonstrate the industry’s overall commitment to diversity.”
Asked about COVID-19 and how it’s affected her working life, Sarah said: “I had a baby during the first lockdown and have since returned to work during the second lockdown. As a new mother, I really feel for women with children that are being home schooled during this time. I can see potential upsides from a work/life balance perspective, being field based, productivity has improved in some ways as there is less time spent travelling.”
Alison Anthony, Assistant HR Manager for Holchem, thinks there are more ways in which the sector can recruit women by giving them the same opportunities that men have; give them the flexibility so they can work alongside having a family to care for and offer equal pay.
In terms of the number of women working in hygiene she said: “This is improving in the sales sector in our business, the rest of the business has always had plenty of women in it. For me, as a woman, Holchem have always been a great employer hence the reason I have worked for them for 27 years.”
For further information on careers at Holchem visit https://www.holchem.co.uk/about/.