Snacks & Candy

Hershey Named the World’s Top Female-Friendly Company

Forbes ranking highlights candy maker’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion
The Hershey Company logo

HERSHEY, Pa. — Candy and snack maker The Hershey Co. ranked No. 1 on Forbes’ latest list of the World’s Top Female Friendly Companies, leading a roster of 300 firms. Being recognized at the top of this list by Forbes “illustrates firsthand Hershey’s longstanding commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, believing DEI is mission critical to the company’s long-term success,” the company said.

“Guided by The Pathways Project, we continue to advance progress around gender equity, a core component of our greater DEI strategy,” said Alicia Petross, chief diversity officer of The Hershey Co. “At Hershey, we are more than female-friendly; we are female-forward. From internal initiatives, such as pay equity, our hiring and development strategy and women’s business resource group, to external initiatives, such as the International Women's Day HerSHEy’s bar and our ongoing community engagement efforts to support all youth, this recognition is a testament to our continued commitment to gender equity across our organization.”

In 2020, Hershey co-created The Pathways Project with employees to catalyze courageous conversations, propel progress and put rigorous DEI goals in place, with gender equity playing a critical role. This recognition comes on the tails of the company’s 2020 milestone of achieving a dollar-for-dollar aggregate pay equity for both salaried women and people of color in the United States.

In addition to pay equity, Hershey has made several other notable outcomes to support women, including the formation of a women’s business resource group, the expansion of family-focused benefits like fertility benefits and paid paternity leave and the establishment of career development programs for underrepresented groups. As reported in Hershey's 2020 Sustainability Report, the company has 48.1% gender diversity around the world, 37.4% of people leaders globally are women and the board of directors has 42% gender diversity.

By 2025, The Pathways Project plans to achieve aggregate dollar-for-dollar pay equity for salaried employees worldwide and seeks to increase representation of Hershey’s employee base so that 47% to 50% of employees are women and 30% to 40% are people of color. Similarly, the company aspires to have 15% to 22% “people leader” roles occupied by people of color and 40% to 42% by women.

Since taking the reins as CEO nearly five years ago, CEO Michele Buck—included in the small percentage of women CEOs in the Fortune 500—has led from the top to ensure DEI is a priority throughout the company, from the boardroom to production line floors. Hershey sees diversity as a key source of energy and innovation, the company said, and is committed to fostering an inclusive environment where all employees around the world can bring their whole selves to work each day.

The Hershey Co., Hershey, Pa., has more than 80 brands around the world that drive $8 billion in annual revenues, including Hershey’s, Reese’s, Kit Kat, Jolly Rancher, Ice Breakers, SkinnyPop and Pirate’s Booty.

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