Fast Track: A-Z of Employers - Kimberly-Clark

Age: Just over 125, a birthday it celebrated by offering share options to all 50,000 employees.

History: Four Americans founded this company to manufacture paper products, selling their first product - a stack of newsprint made of linen and cotton rags - for 15 cents. In 1915, the firm's first mill began to manufacture absorbent cellulose wadding, first used to bandage wounded soldiers in the First World War, and later adapted for menstrual use; the sanitary protection Kotex was advertised discreetly in the Ladies Home Journal in 1921. Kleenex facial tissue was introduced three years later. Today, more than 700 Europeans blow their noses on it every second. During the war, the company turned to manufacturing anti-aircraft gun mounts and detonating fuses for shells. In 1972, the Andrex puppy - thought up by Scott Paper, which was to merge with K-C in 1995 - first hit television screens, after the original advert, showing a girl dragging toilet tissue around a house, was banned by the Advertising Standards Agency. In 1997, the company celebrated its 125th anniversary by launching hundreds of community projects.

Address: Global headquarters are in Dallas, with manufacturing facilities in 38 countries. European headquarters are in Reigate, in Surrey. There are eight sites in the UK.

Ambience: Innovation and teamwork are the watchwords. There's a friendly, co-operative environment, "where people take their work very seriously but do not take themselves too seriously", says a spokeswoman. Some sites have adopted casual dress on Fridays.

Vital statistics: There are around 55,000 employees world-wide, more than 8,000 based in Europe. The UK workforce is around 2,500. Last year's world-wide sales were valued at $12.5bn, with earnings of $1.35bn. European operations contributed around 20 per cent of global sales, and in the UK the company is a market leader in toilet and facial tissues.

Lifestyle: The company operates on a flexi-time policy, with achievement of objectives seen as more important than hours worked. Placements in other European countries are common.

Easy to get into? Only 15 or 20 graduates are recruited each year, from 500-600 applications. There is no general management training programme, but trainees are recruited into marketing, IT, engineering and logistics departments. A 2.1 degree is expected, and candidates need strong written and oral communication skills, analytical ability and a desire to work in a team. There is a lengthy selection and assessment procedure; there are also occasional summer and 12-month placements. Call 01732 594504 for an application form.

Glittering alumni: None to speak of, except the Andrex puppy.

Pay: Starting salaries are pounds 19,000-pounds 21,000. There are six-monthly performance and pay reviews within the first two years, and high achievers can expect rapid promotion. There's also a profit-related bonus scheme.

Training: Trainees start on a two-year professional development programme, which aims to provide key business and personal skills. After that, there's the opportunity to take leadership and team development programmes.

Facilities: Canteens and restaurants at all sites.

Who's the boss? European president is Rob Van der Merwe, and Ian Jones is the general manager of the UK consumer business.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones