Our Senior Leaders share the secrets to success!

James Bruce – Executive VP Enterprise Solutions and Information & Analytics

  • Studied Economics at The University of Warwick

James was initially driven by the need to put a roof over his head, coming from a family of small business owners with limited success. His original aim was to work for a large company, gain experience and return the family business to profit.

What has made you stay with Unilever your whole career?

Having not set out with the intention of becoming a ‘lifer’ but new opportunities presented themselves as James excelled in each role he was given. The size of Unilever lends itself to an abundance of opportunity.

Read more “Our Senior Leaders share the secrets to success!”


Function Insight into R&D and TM!

Jana Tian – UFLP R&D


A little bit about me…

Real Careers campaign, we would like to know where you have come from : Studied at Imperial College London, Chemical Engineering (MEng). Originally born in Slovenia with a Chinese heritage. I have previously interned at P&G.

What inspired you to apply?

I know everyone says this, but USLP. I saw the incredible work Unilever did on compressed cans for deodorants, and realised I’d like to be part of a company that cares about its impact on the society.

Read more “Function Insight into R&D and TM!”

Tara Ennis profile

Port Sunlight, the birthplace of Unilever: Tara Ennis, BTM…

Hello, I am Tara and I am on a Business and Technology Management (BTM) Industrial Placement. Doing a degree in Sustainable Development and Politics at the University of Edinburgh you may be wondering how I ended up in Business and IT function. Well truthfully, it was not solely the function that attracted me to the scheme; it was also my pure fascination and appreciation for the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan that drew me in. That being said, I will leave my personal story for a later date because as I am based in Port Sunlight, the birthplace of Unilever, I feel it is only appropriate to dedicate my inaugural post to our founder, Lord Lever-Hulme himself.

William Lever, the son of a humble grocer, was a visionary and progressivist whose legacy not only radiates through Unilever today, but can be seen throughout corporate and union strategies worldwide. From an economic perspective, his initial success was born out of Sunlight Soap – the first ever individually wrapped soap bars. Who knew, a commodity we take for granted today was considered so revolutionary just over a century ago? However, although his economic legacy rests in a company whose revenues topped £48 billion last year; what makes me (and many others) proud to be a Unilever employee is the social legacy he leaves behind.

After Sunlight soap took off, and his factory in Warrington was running at full capacity, Lever began looking for a new premises. The plot of land he chose was ideal: near a potential source of labour in neighbouring Birkenhead, with road, rail and water access, and located just off the banks of the Mersey River. Port Sunlight had found its home. However, Port Sunlight was never to be just a factory. Being a great believer in the idea that healthy labourers were more productive he pioneered the concept of employee welfare. Within a couple of years he had built an entire village of 900 homes to house employees from across his business. At a time of vast industrial revolution, where disparities and poverty were vast, Port Sunlight was considered utopian in comparison to average living standards. With a hospital, fire station, manicured gardens, leisure facilities, and schools, workers never needed to leave. In their village, where they both lived and worked, they were guaranteed a decent standard of living and better quality of life.

Port Sunlight Fire brigade
Port Sunlight Fire brigade

The village and original factory site remain almost identical to the time of their construction. Port Sunlight has been declared a Conservation Area since 1978 and has strict upkeep regulations in order to retain the character of the village. Work ethic within Unilever also remains central to Lever’s vision with a high emphasis on employee wellbeing and welfare. Simply walking through the village is a living reminder of Lever’s efforts to build the company we know and love today. If anything it makes me proud to work for a company who is founded on its progressivist thinking whilst staying true to its historical legacy. And to be reminded of that every morning is a pure joy.


Port Sunlight village
Port Sunlight village

If Lord Lever were to enter 21st century Port Sunlight, aside from the various mod-cons, I like to think he would be walking into an office not much different than the one he created in the late 1800s. Now that is a legacy to be proud of.

Lever House Exterior: then (R) and now (L)
Lever House Exterior: then (R) and now (L)
Entrance Vestibule: then and now
Entrance Vestibule: then and now
Tom 1

My First 6 Weeks in BTM: Tom Heywood, SP

Hi everyone, I’m Tom and I am currently doing a summer placement in BTM.

It was only on my induction day that I found out just how broad the roles within BTM actually were. I was going to be working in Consumer IT, the worry about my ineptitude at coding set in! What had I done? I haven’t done IT since GCSE!

My first day however quickly alleviated my fears with my line manager explaining what the role of IT within BTM actually is. Consumer IT requires you to be a problem solver, partnering with brands globally to manage projects and develop solutions to allow the business to grow in a changing marketplace (not the coding and software development I had feared!!!).

My role is within the global sustainability and traceability team under the wide reaching umbrella of Consumer IT.  Partnering with technology providers like Vodafone to deliver IT innovation to the business and the brands.


Networking was one of the most important tasks of my first weeks, meeting the team and other employees from across from the business helped me quickly learn about the company’s culture. The friendly ‘Unilever people’ speed the settling in process but it was the wave of immediate responsibility that makes you feel part of the business. One of the truly unique aspects of working within BTM is how cross functional your work is. Project management is a huge part of your role as you deliver projects for all areas of the business whether it be the digital team developing websites, or traceability projects for supply chain and brands. You are given huge exposure to all areas of the business.

I thought I’d talk about one of my projects at this point, the one I have chosen is not the one I spend the most time on, but it is one that I feel completely sums up Unilever as a business and has allowed me to truly live the USLP. This was a key project in my first couple of weeks and was my first experience of responsibility. The project is working with foodbanks in the UK partnering with external strategic business partners to bring together a technology platform of relationship management tools to enable them to meet the growing demand. As well as providing them with business training, organising volunteering events and managing the process.

This is not the project I am working on that is developing business radical growth through revolutionary IT innovation like my other projects. This for me is the beauty of Unilever not only are you encouraged to think differently in order to innovate business growth but you are also provided with projects and time to drive positive social change. The sustainability team is now an increasing driver of business growth, the continued acceleration towards truly sustainable business is an exciting area to be part of. Unilever remains at the forefront of sustainable business practice amongst FMCG’s and being part of this area has allowed me to see where it is going.

The First 6 weeks have gone fast! Working on challenging projects has allowed me to gain valuable experience in the corporate environment and gain that all important commercial awareness. From just a few months ago as a Geography student, talking about the theories of sustainability and sustainable development; to having the opportunity to be involved in the application of these theories has been unbelievably exciting and rewarding in equal measure!

Now into my final few weeks the time is upon me to start the handover process of my projects and beginning the self-evaluation process for which special time with my manager is set aside. What I wanted from my placement at Unilever was to develop my skills as well as gaining an understanding of the corporate world and Unilever more specifically. I have had the privilege of working with VP’s across the business and this exposure to senior managers has been a steep learning curve but one I feel has driven a great deal of personal development. Being part of a team who is driving sustainable business development so quickly and positively has been a sense of real personal enjoyment and has justified everyday my decision to work at Unilever.


My BTM journey from Industrial Placement to UFLP: Steven…

Hi I’m Steven, and I’m currently on my first rotation on the Business and Technology Management (BTM) UFLP. I joined Unilever in September 2014 after graduating from Queen’s University Belfast with a degree in Business Management. This is actually my second stint with Unilever, having previously completed an Industrial Placement year during my degree. I was attracted to Unilever and BTM as I always had an interest in technology, and was keen to discover how it was being utilised to drive the business forward.

I spent my placement year working in the picturesque village of Port Sunlight, on the Wirral. This is the historic site where Lever Brothers began manufacturing Sunlight soap all those years ago. Looking back it was a great location to start my career with Unilever, as I was immersed in the history of the company and I could see first-hand how much the brothers had valued employee welfare, through the creation of the village itself.

In terms of my role there, I was one of the IT Business Partnering and Innovation leads for the Supply Chain function, more specifically I partnered the Global Customer Service Excellence team. I was responsible for developing tools that enabled our packaging teams to produce more optimised designs; in turn this helped to increase our presence on shelf in stores across the world. This is vital for attracting shopper attention and securing sales. I was working as part of a great internal team but I also had external interactions with international suppliers, and when English isn’t their first language clear communication becomes even more important. My time in PSL also gave me the opportunity to do something completely different from my day to day work, leading a small team to produce a promotional video for the entire Supply Chain IT team, highlighting all of the things we had achieved during the year.

The placement was challenging but I had a supportive team around me and great manager who continued to stretch me, which was extremely valuable from a development perspective. Needless to say I really enjoyed my time there, and I was delighted to get an offer to come back to Unilever on the UFLP after I graduated.

Fast forward to the present day and I’m writing this blog from my current office, Unilever’s global headquarters on Victoria Embankment in London (100VE). Looking out one window I can see The Shard, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf; turn my attention in the other direction and I’m greeted by the sights of Big Ben and the London Eye. Moral of the story, it’s a really cool office to be based in!

I’m just over half way through my first rotation, and once again I have found myself in an IT Business Partnering and Innovation role. However, this time I am working with our Consumer Market Insights (CMI) team. These are the people who work alongside our category brand teams, to provide actionable insights based on the vast array of research we conduct and have access to. The culture in London is very different to Port Sunlight, as is the nature of the team I’m partnering. Everything seems to happen a lot faster, and this emphasises the innovation aspect of my role, although I still need to maintain the close relationships with my key stakeholders. Partnering in this way allows me to understand their requirements and help them leverage innovative technology, enabling us to connect with consumers in a more powerful way to gain better insights.

My wider IT team in London have been great welcoming me from day one, and the hot-desking policy we operate means you get to sit beside different people each day. I’m pleased to say that there are quite a few previous graduates in this space, including my current manager who started the BTM UFLP just 5 years ago! This is a real motivator for me as it highlights how quickly you can progress within the organisation.

As for my future, I expect to do 3 or 4 more rotations on the scheme, one of which will hopefully be out of the BTM function. This will be a great chance for me to experience another part of the business, potentially in something like marketing or even revisiting my connections with supply chain. My next BTM role will be confirmed in the coming weeks, so I’m excited to find out where I’ll be going and what I’ll be doing! Check back to the blog in another few months to find out for yourself!


A 2nd Year UFLP Perspective: Babak Brazell, BTM UFLP

I started on the Business Technology Management (BTM) stream of the Unilever Future Leader’s programme (UFLP) in September 2013. Having finished at the University of Bristol with a Biology degree in 2012, I became aware of BTM while doing an internship at an Innovation consultancy the summer after I finished University. The UFLP seemed like a fantastic learning experience within a company that was really highly regarded, while technology was an area I felt would be growing rapidly in importance within Unilever, and one that would be driving the business forward moving into the future. I’m a living, breathing example that it doesn’t require a technical background or computer science degree to be successful in applying to the BTM. A keen interest in what technology can do for the business is far more important!

BTM is split into a series of 6 month placements, the first of which I spent in 100 Victoria Embankment, Blackfriars, London working in the Sustainable Business Team. The Sustainable Business team is responsible for driving the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), which is a fundamental part of Unilever’s compass ambition to double the size of the business while halving the environmental footprint by 2020. Spending time in the team responsible for something so integral to the business gave me some really eye opening experiences and was a great place to start. One specific responsibility was to help in the creation of an online hub called the Sustainable Living Lab for Unilever employee’s across the business. The aim of which was to inform and offer a space for collaboration around Sustainable business. The lab went live in November 2013, and was formally launched at the Change Leaders conference (a conference for the top 400 Unilever members globally). Being responsible for the launch was daunting and exciting at the same time, but ultimately turned out to be a great success.

After finishing in the Sustainable Business team in March, I moved up to Liverpool and am currently based out of Port Sunlight working in the Global Network Services team. The Networks team is responsible for making sure that the data network for all of Unilever’s locations is robust and working. Consequences for problems with the Network can be extremely damaging to the business, as a problem with the network that stops production in a factory can cost a lot over a short period of time. This opportunity has given me a completely different perspective on technology in the business, and I’ve learnt a huge amount during my time here. Next up I’m staying in the Port Sunlight office, but moving into the Chief Technology Office, which is responsible for the long term technology strategy for Unilever. As you can see, one major strength of the BTM scheme is the amount of variation it’s possible to see over the course of the placements. In 18 months I will have seen a really broad scope of the different ways that technology supports Unilever as a whole.

The scheme so far has been challenging and rewarding, with fantastic learning opportunities throughout – highly recommended!




Welcome IP Business & Technology Management!

Welcome to our 2014/2015 Industrial Placement Business & Technology Management students!  Here they share with you their profiles, what attracted them to Unilever and top tips for future applicants:


Name: Caroline Godson

University: University of Birmingham

Course: Business Management with Year in Industry

Function: BTM

Role title: Social Activation Analyst

What attracted you to Unilever?

Unilever provides so many opportunities to build networks and skills within a global business environment and the breadth of experience they offer in the space of 12 months is amazing. Their organisational culture and values were also greatly attractive to me and I really enjoy working within a team of motivated individuals in a flexible and agile way.

Top tips for future applicants?

Be proactive and apply early – the earlier you apply the earlier you could secure yourself a job and relax! During the application process ensure to stay up to date with Unilever’s current news, what projects they’re focusing on, and try to integrate this information into your answers – particularly on the telephone interview. Prepare in detail for interviews/assessment centre with competency based question examples, knowledge of Unilever and remember to be confident! The application process is mostly about the company finding out about the kind of person you are, so be yourself and be sure to listen to others – it’s important to take other people’s views into account and not try to lead the entire time.


Name: Ioanna Yiallourides

University: University of Bath

Course: Politics with Economics

Function: Business and Technology Management

Role Title: Digital Planner, Digital Marketing Services Europe

What attracted you to Unilever?

Its unique approach to doing business, its diversity of accounts and opportunities and its global scale.

Any top tips for future applicants?

Be yourself throughout the process and try to enjoy it.


Name: James Tinson

University: University of Reading

Course: Business and Management

Function: BTM

What attracted you to Unilever?

I had been looking at the reviews on Ratemyplacement.co.uk and similar sites and Unilever was highly rated by placement students, and the opportunity to work with some of the world’s biggest brands of course!

Any top tips for future applicants?

When it comes to the selection day, be yourself! It’s better to feel comfortable than to be on edge and over thinking your actions.


Top 10 Tips for Graduate Job Hunters

Hi All,

We all know that job hunting as a graduate isn’t easy. The process is constantly growing in length with extensive application forms, multiple psychometric tests, telephone interviews and of course, extremely demanding selection boards. The process is most definitely challenging and on top of other deadlines that you may be facing (exams, coursework deadlines etc.) it can be a stressful time. As a recent graduate who started at Unilever in 2013 I remember clearly the pressure of job-hunting and the challenges it created. I thought therefore it would be helpful to offer my top ten tips for graduate job-hunters. Some are specific to Unilever and some are slightly more general. These are by no means the holy grail of securing a graduate job but hopefully for those who are feeling the strain they may help;

Read more “Top 10 Tips for Graduate Job Hunters”