Holcim Philippines pushes for greater gender diversity to drive innovation and growth


With diverse workforces proven to drive innovation and business growth, building solutions provider Holcim Philippines, Inc. is looking to review and update programs to improve its ability to attract more women to the company.

Holcim Philippines plans to increase its female workforce to 30% by 2030 from the current 20% by strengthening policies and putting up additional infrastructure and facilities that cater to women. This is in line with the ambitions of the LafargeHolcim Group to improve the diversity in its operations worldwide as part of its Sustainability goals.

“To enhance the participation of females in the company, we’ve been reviewing and improving our existing policies and infrastructures. We want to make sure that we have these essentials in our offices and plants so we have the right environment to welcome women and nurture their potential. We believe that doing so helps our company in its goal to help the Philippines build better with certainty,” said Holcim Philippines President and CEO Sapna Sood, the first female head of a cement company in the country.

Aside from strong compliance with laws and regulations applicable to women in the workplace, Holcim Philippines also provides additional maternity benefits on top of what is legally required. It has also supported the establishment of women’s councils at its sites, where female employees discuss important issues to them.

And while Holcim Philippines’ purposive efforts to make the company more female-friendly are at its early stages, women are already making inroads. The company has had a female plant manager and 32% of its leadership team, are women including Sood. With the initiatives to be rolled out, the company hopes to build on and sustain these gains.

Sood said it makes good business sense to attract more women to the company as it expands the talent pool for potential employees and with diversity proven to bring business benefits.

Various studies including ones done by the World Economic Forum and the McKinsey & Company have shown that diversified workforce drives greater innovation and deliver better business results.

“Having a variety of perspectives provides us new insights that can help us improve. This is especially critical for us since we are looking to transform the company to be more relevant in an increasingly competitive business environment and more impactful in the country’s development,” she added.

A chemical engineer, Sood said that more women should consider careers in science, engineering, technology, and math given the growing opportunities related to these fields. She noted for example that even as the local construction industry is expected to grow on the plans to improve the country’s infrastructure, various groups point to the lack of engineers to oversee the projects.

Sood added that as more women join their workforce, Holcim Philippines is committed to promoting an inclusive environment for everyone, where there are equal opportunities for women, who have the right skills, values, and mindsets.  

“We want to show female engineers and professionals that Holcim Philippines is a place where they can build their career and that there are a lot of opportunities available for them here in the country and also abroad,” she said.

“Now is the right time to push greater gender diversity in workplaces. At Holcim Philippines, this mission is our way of saying that every woman can excel in any field that they choose, even in masculine industries like the cement manufacturing and construction,” said Sood.