Think Diversity, Lead Inclusively!

No Bias – No Prejudice
at Carlsberg Malaysia

To many people, Carlsberg is an international beer brand available worldwide. To most Scandinavians, Danes in particular, Carlsberg is also about science and art than just beer. To Malaysians, ironically, Carlsberg is the most welcomed brand to some but a taboo to others.

Operating under such unique environment shaped by religion and cultural differences, we, at Carlsberg Malaysia, respect the potpourri of Malaysian cultures as everyone is the same yet unique. We placed even greater emphasis on diversity and inclusion aiming to foster an inclusive work environment, where diversity thrives in support of our strategic ambitions and priorities.


I Was the Youngest Manager in the Company

I have worked at Probably The Best Brewery for 15 years now. Whenever I am asked “What made you stay so long?”, I joked: “free beers”! When conversations got deeper, many were fascinated by the purpose-led corporate strategies, quality and innovation-driven brands and performance-based people culture stories I shared. Most often than not, many were intrigued by how Carlsberg Malaysia walked the talk in age, gender and work experience diversity when I, then a female at the age of 25 without any background in F&B, was hired as manager, youngest in the Company, and entrusted to undertake several portfolios, which were totally new to me. I thought I would never pass the 6-month probation. Little did I know that, with no bias and prejudice over who I was then, I’ve grown over the years and was empowered with additional roles with a promotion since April last year.


A Diverse Talent Base, Equal Opportunity and Inclusive Leadership

Aligned with the Carlsberg Group, our aspiration for diversity and inclusion is anchored around a Global Mindset, a Diverse Talent Base, Equal Opportunity and Inclusive Leadership.

At Carlsberg Malaysia, 63% of the Management team are female, probably one of the most female representations in a rather masculine industry. In 2020, we had 32% of female in managerial positions, 38% of female hired and promoted to manager positions and 50% of female given regional assignment opportunities. In addition, 38% of our management trainees are female too.

On cultural and experience diversity, we took extra efforts and made conscious decision to hire talents of different race, background as well as personal perceptions over beer.

3rd from right: Pearl is celebrating International Women’s Day with female colleagues at work

We also adopted inclusive recruitment when we host job interviews at least-expected settings like meeting candidates at a neighbour bar or interviewing candidates before a Carlsberg-organised or sponsored party. We are mindful that there should be no bias in favour of or against someone due to hiring manager’s own judgement, that could be influenced by personal bias disruptors or stereotype due to one’s background and workplace experiences.

Together with Our Diversity and Inclusion Council at the Carlsberg Group, we have outlined several awareness campaigns and learning like unconscious bias awareness and women leadership this year. We are also set to promote female participation in leadership development and introduced greater flexible work arrangement for working mothers.


Learned to Embrace Diversity Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

Amidst COVID-19 pandemic, we learned that a corporation must embrace diversity in order to be agile, act timely and stay competitive to brace through the storm. We had flexible work arrangements for working parents to care for their home-schooling children. This year, we introduced family friendly leave policies like the Family Care Leave, extended maternity and paternity leave for our colleagues to care for their families, especially during the pandemic.

Established in 1969, Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Berhad is part of Carlsberg A/S, one of the world’s leading brewers with strong market positions across Asia and Europe.

At Carlsberg Malaysia, health and safety of our people, including our customers and consumers are of top priority. In addition to compliance to all SOPs by Ministry of Health, we also sponsored routine COVID-19 swab tests, every 10 to 14 days, for our employees in order to keep everyone’s health and wellness in check. All the above-mentioned are arranged and extended to everyone in the Company, regardless of seniority or hierarchy, which is rather flat at 5 levels only.

As a communication practitioner, I couldn’t more that body language speaks louder words. With most of us working remotely from home, most often than not with video off for a more stable Wi-Fi connection, it is now even more important for us to embrace diversity and drive inclusion, less assumptions more clarifications.


Lastly, I’d like to quote Benjamin Franklin:

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”.

Working under this new norm, I learn, un-learn and re-learn everyday and never tired of asking “WHY” in order to think diversity and lead inclusively.


Pearl Lai

Corporate Affairs Director
Carlsberg Brewery Malaysia Berhad

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