Employer profile: Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies
What it’s like to work at one of the world's largest consumer goods companies
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Consumer goods companies design and create products that we use in our everyday life like ice cream, deodorant, and mayonnaise, but what's it like to work for one? In this guide, you’ll learn all about working at Unilever, what apprenticeship opportunities are available, and tips on how to apply.
In 190 countries around the world!
148,000 people worldwide
Manufacturing, logistics, business, product design and engineering, chemical and materials engineering,
People who are purposeful, curious, collaborative, and have an interest in Unilever's brands
People who aren't interested in product development
Ellen White, who is a Future Careers Specialist at Unilever, tells us what it’s really like to work for the company.
What does Unilever do?
Unilever is one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, which means we own, make and sell products that people use in their everyday lives. We are known for products like Dove, Marmite, Lynx, Ben & Jerry’s, and Hellmann’s, and we are involved in a wide range of projects from innovating new deodorant technology, such as Sure’s new 72-hour non-stop sweat and odour protection range, to creating the latest flavour for ice creams!
Where is Unilever based?
We operate in over 190 countries around the world, and our working environments can include offices, factories, and research and development labs. In the UK we have offices in the South East & North West, three research and development labs, and a number of factories spread across the UK, making products such as Pot Noodle, Marmite, and Wall’s ice cream!
Employees who are based in our offices generally come into the office a couple of days a week, and the rest of the time they work remotely. Our offices are modern, with hot desks, meeting rooms, and lots of open spaces for team collaboration.
Working styles can differ for our factory and lab-based positions, where you’re required to be on-site more frequently or work in shift patterns.
What is Unilever’s work environment like?
We’re a purpose-led company and we make sure that when you take a job with us, not only will you get the opportunity to build your career, but your work will also help to make a positive impact, ensuring you can be proud of what you do.
In our offices, there is a good balance of face-to-face and virtual working. As we’re an international company, we stay connected using Outlook and Microsoft Teams.
How does Unilever meet the needs of employees with additional requirements?
Our sites are wheelchair accessible and we have lifts, ramps, and adjustable height desks. We offer remote working and flexible working, so those who are more productive working from home, or may need to start and finish at slightly different times to others, can do so. We also have lots of wellbeing and mental health resources available for our employees such as trained Mental Health Champions and Time to Talk teams who are available to support our employees as needed.
Who wouldn’t be the right fit for Unilever?
We’re looking for people who are motivated, curious, and like to work as a team. If that doesn’t suit your working style, then Unilever might not be the best place for you.
What are some of the most common roles at Unilever?
We have employees working at every stage of the product development process, from scientists coming up with new and innovative ideas for our products and brands, to engineers who are responsible for helping to manufactures these products on large scale, and marketeers and sales professionals who make sure that our consumers know about them and can find them online or in their local stores.
How can someone join Unilever at entry level?
We offer several apprenticeship opportunities ranging from Level 3 to Level 6 sponsored degree apprenticeships. These programmes are offered in three main areas; business and technology, research and development, and engineering.
We also have opportunities for undergraduates with our 12-month industrial placement programme, which means that you could join us for work experience as part of your degree.
Once students have graduated university, they can join our graduate scheme called the Unilever Future Leaders Programme. This is a three-year management acceleration programme which includes placement rotations within your chosen function, a career sponsor, and fantastic learning and development opportunities.
What are the entry requirements for these roles?
The entry requirements for our apprenticeships differ by programme. For our Level 3 apprenticeships you’ll need five GCSEs or equivalent including Maths and English Language at grade 4 /5 or above. For our Level 4 and Level 6 programmes, you’ll also need the same GCSE qualifications plus two to three A levels or equivalent.
For our research and development, and data science apprenticeships, you’ll need to have completed your A levels in particular STEM subjects, such as Maths or Chemistry.
To be eligible for our Unilever Future Leaders Programme positions, you will need to have graduated with a degree within the last five years. We accept degrees in any subject and there is no minimum grade requirement. The only exception to this is when applying for our research and development and supply chain programmes, where you’re required to have a strong technical background and a degree in a specific STEM discipline.
On our website, you can find the specific entry requirements for all of our apprenticeship and graduate programmes.
What is one top tip to help an entry level applicant succeed in getting into Unilever?
Make sure you research us as a company and the role or programme you’re applying for. Get a really good understanding of our values, our purpose, and what we’re trying to achieve as a business to help with any answers that you need to prepare.
What opportunities are there for progression at Unilever?
Around 80% of our apprentices either go onto a higher or degree apprenticeship programme, permanent role, or other learning opportunity once they have completed their programme with us.
We run ‘Taking Control of your Career’ sessions with our apprentices and graduates as they approach the end of their programmes, which help to explain the next-step opportunities that might be available both internally and externally.
For individuals on our Unilever Future Leaders graduate scheme we would expect them to move into a management role in the company after they graduate.
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Business and technology apprenticeship programmes Find out more about Unilever's business and technology apprenticeship programmes