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Unilever Sri Lanka, one of Asia’s Best Employer Brands 2022


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Empowers 30,000+ youth to help build a purposeful Sri Lanka

Unilever SPARKS student ambassadors at a Unilever Youth Forum Event

Unilever Sri Lanka emerged as one of ‘Asia’s Best Employer Brands’ in 2022 at the 17th Employer Brands Awards held at Pan Pacific, Singapore. The FMCG giant was ranked amongst the Top 50 companies in Asia for its outstanding contributions to Human Resources Management in the country. The event was hosted by the World HRD Congress and Stars of the Industry Group and endorsed by the Asian Confederation of Business. The awards were adjudged by the Employer Branding Institute, a virtual organisation which connects senior HR leaders across the world to share best practices in Employer Branding.

Sharing her thoughts, Ananya Sabharwal, Human Resources Director of Unilever Sri Lanka said, “We are truly humbled to receive this coveted recognition which underscores our commitment to building leaders of tomorrow. Many of our employees say that Unilever is like a university. I myself am grateful to have received a rich variety of exposure across the globe since my Unilever career gave me the opportunity to work and learn across India, USA, UK, the Netherlands and now most recently Sri Lanka.”

She added “We want our youth to also experience development opportunities to become future fit citizens of the world. We not only invest in classroom trainings for students, but also offer flexible development interventions where our youth get to continue their studies whilst getting first-hand corporate exposure that help form a strong foundation for meaningful careers ahead. We truly believe that investing in our youth is one of the most promising ways in which we can invest in the growth and future of Sri Lanka, especially during these challenging times”.

'Asia's Best Employer Brands 2022' award presented to Unilever Sri Lanka
'Asia's Best Employer Brands 2022' award presented to Unilever Sri Lanka

Adding her thoughts, Hajar Alafifi, Chairperson and Managing Director of Unilever Sri Lanka said, “Through the Unilever Compass, we’re committed to helping people stay fit for work – now and in the future. And in this journey, we are equipping people to adapt and thrive in today’s rapidly changing world whilst partnering with others to create jobs and skills for our youth. We will continue to support our people and our youth, thereby developing and enhancing their skills in the hopes of building a better tomorrow.”

Unilever Sri Lanka has touched the lives of 30,000+ Sri Lankan youth to become more employable over the last five years through its ‘Employer Brand’ youth initiatives. The company is also a pioneer in offering flexible and novel industry exposure stints for selected undergraduates who seek part-time/short-term exposure opportunities while studying full-time.

SPARKS – Unilever’s Student Ambassador Programme invites undergraduates from top Sri Lankan universities to become Unilever ambassadors within their universities for one year. Together with the company, 20 young and versatile youngsters drive ~3 campus sessions per week across leading universities in the island and bring to life the Unilever Youth Forum which is one of the largest undergraduate forums held in the country that connects Sri Lankan youth with industry leaders. Over the last 8 years, the company has selected 110+ student ambassadors across 9 main universities and delivered 100+ skill development programmes across campuses.

Unilever workforce from International Women's Day celebrations at Unilever Head Office
Unilever workforce from International Women's Day celebrations at Unilever Head Office

The company’s Unilever Challenge which is a real time brand centered case study competition, offers undergraduates and fresh graduates the opportunity to represent Sri Lanka at the Global Unilever Future Leaders League, giving them first-hand experience in working with leading brands and building their disruptive thinking. This year, the local team coached by Unilever Sri Lanka emerged as runners-up, beating over 54,000 applicants and 500+ undergraduates worldwide.

ULEARN is another novel intervention of Unilever for undergraduates to volunteer for short-term business projects with Unilever Sri Lanka. These structured programmes enable flexibility and provides first-hand corporate exposure to students at a very early stage in their careers.

In its quest to enable youth employability and unlock future talent to reverse the current brain drain trend in the country, the company has also partnered with John Keels Holdings and London Stock Exchange to launch ‘Fast-Track’, a cross-industry Summer Internship for Sri Lankan students studying locally and abroad; and has partnered with CIMA, the Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT), General Sir John Kotelawala Defense University (KDU), AIESEC Sri Lanka and Gavel clubs, to help support dynamic capability building in Sri Lankan youth.

* Image caption: Unilever SPARKS student ambassadors at a Unilever Youth Forum Event

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