L’Oréal’s Problem With Men

Issue 09-11-17   |   Reviewer:   Bob Cohen, MBA


While its competitors are still focused on hiring women, L’Oréal has made it a priority to bring more men into the organization. Judging by their first place standing in Equileap’s 2017 ranking of 3,000 global corporations progress towards gender equality, they are moving in the right direction. But L’Oréal has been so successful at developing a reputation as a female-friendly workplace that women job applicants flock there. One result: Last year, 77 percent of new hires were female. Therein lies a problem.

One issue of concern to L’Oréal’s management is how to overcome the imbalance in future recruiting. More men means more customers who identify with the growing male grooming products market. L’Oréal, which doesn’t sell razors, ranks third in the $47.8 billion men’s grooming market, with a 5.6 percent share in 2016. No L’Oréal brand is in the top 10 for men in market share, though the company’s Baxter of California targets men.

L’Oréal’s goal is to recruit equal numbers of men and women by 2020. On the opposite end of the organizational spectrum is the imbalance in gender representation about company management. Ten years ago, executive leadership was predominantly male. Today, although women have made gains overall, their ranks thin in the higher posts.

One way L’Oréal’s recruitment strategy has changed is the image they now project to future applicants. Gone is the glamour and glitz of their promotional materials in favor of gender empowering views of female chemists and male tech incubator leaders. They are also making an effort to point out that marketing roles are very entrepreneurial in nature, emphasizing product development and profit-and-loss accountabilities. To sustain their gender hiring goals, L’Oréal in recent years has sponsored an affinity group for male employees in the U.S., the Men’s Think Tank.

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