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6th mars 2020

Ulster Carpets have a proud history as an industry pioneer and a closer look at our workforce reflects that we also lead the way when it comes to gender equality.

Supporting the campaign theme #EachforEqual for International Women’s Day on 8th March, we can point to a history of gender equality that goes right back to the roots of the company.

Formed in 1938, just before the outbreak of the Second World War, Ulster Carpets had to quickly diversify, not just in terms of stopping carpet manufacturing to focus on creating products to help the war effort but also with women taking over the then traditional role of men who were off fighting in the war. This started a process of ensuring employment opportunities for women that has continued over the last 80-plus years.

Today, Ulster Carpets continues to be a standard bearer for equal opportunities. Women make up 40% of the current management team while 76% of the design team – a critical aspect of our success – are women.

Meanwhile, 54% of staff across professional areas of the business – such as sales, technical services, design, finance, IT, customer services, HR and marketing – are female. When combined with the managers and directors of these various departments, the male/female ratio is almost a perfect 50-50 – 49% men and 51% women.

However, the perfect example of how barriers to progression have been removed at Ulster Carpets is demonstrated at the highest level where there is a 50-50 split of men and women on our Operational Board of Directors. That is a significant difference to 20 years ago when there was only one woman on the Board.

As our Personnel Director, Caroline Whiteside, explained, representation at every level of Ulster Carpets has been matched by a commitment to gender equality.

“We’re not required by law to publish a Gender Pay Gap report but we feel it is important to demonstrate our commitment to gender equality,” said Caroline. “We have a record of removing the barriers faced by women in the workplace and offering equal opportunities to all our staff.

“Women taking up managerial and director positions at Ulster Carpets is the norm and we can point to numerous examples of staff who have proved there is no glass ceiling to progression here because of their gender.

“Some started on our hugely successful Graduate Programme while others have worked their way up through various positions in the company. However, regardless of where they started, first and foremost our focus is on recognising an individual’s ability and performance, regardless of gender.”