IKEA Named to Working Mother Magazine's '100 Best Companies for Working Mothers' for Second Consecutive Year

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa.--()--Sept. 21, 2004--

  Home Furnishings Retailer Offers Benefits That Best Support Its Coworkers with a 'When Work is a Pleasure, Life is a Joy' Approach  

IKEA, the leading home furnishings retailer, today announced that for the second consecutive year, it has been named in Working Mother magazine's 19th annual list of the "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers." IKEA was honored for its comprehensive benefits, family-friendly programs and the innovative training programs and resources available to its more than 8,000 U.S. coworkers. Last year, Pernille Spiers-Lopez, president of IKEA North America, was also singled out for the magazine's Family Champion Award, which recognized her support of family-friendly initiatives.

"At IKEA, we think of ourselves as a family," said Spiers-Lopez. "Just as one would look after their parents, siblings or children, our coworker family is encouraged to and excels at supporting and taking care of each other."

"Once again we're thrilled to receive this honor, and excited for our coworkers who make IKEA a great place to work," said Kathy Kane, responsible for human resources for IKEA North America. "In addition to focusing on creating a family-friendly shopping experience for our customers, IKEA also focuses on creating a family-friendly work experience for our coworkers. We are committed to supporting our coworkers with valued benefits that fall under the umbrella of providing opportunities for 'a whole life.' Depending on the diverse needs of our individual coworkers, these benefits can mean tuition assistance to help achieve educational goals, lactation rooms for nursing mothers, discounts for weight loss and smoking cessation services, as well as flextime, which makes it possible for many working mothers (and fathers) to manage their families' busy schedules."

The IKEA vision "to create a better everyday life for the many" is a philosophy that applies to customers, coworkers and communities in which we have stores. This has a direct influence on the approach that IKEA instills in its workplace environment, the variety of benefits offered, its family-friendly programs, as well as the tremendous opportunities for professional growth without requiring coworkers, particularly working mothers, to make unnecessary sacrifices when it comes to their family. Today, nearly 50% of the company's top earners are women, and IKEA has seen a continuous decline in its sales staff turnover, which was 36% in 2003, down from 56% in 2002 and 76% in 2000.

Additionally, this goal has saved the company millions of dollars in recruiting, retention and retraining costs, which in turn can be utilized to continue enhancing the many IKEA work/life balance initiatives available to coworkers. In today's highly competitive retail industry, IKEA recognizes that helping its coworkers balance the most important things in their lives, while providing them the flexibility that makes it easier for them to continue their career at IKEA through different stages of their lives, fosters tremendous coworker loyalty, empowerment, confidence and drive, all of which are valuable assets in a workforce.

Some of the comprehensive IKEA coworker benefits include:

-- In addition to full medical/dental insurance to coworkers working 20 hours or more per week with eligibility for domestic partners and children, IKEA also offers coworkers with LESS THAN 20 hours a week access to full benefits.

-- Discounts for weight loss and smoking cessation services, as well as free subscriptions to health and wellness magazines.

-- Flexible work arrangements including job share, telecommuting and condensed work weeks. (IKEA has seen a recent trend for working mothers (and fathers) to coordinate their work hours to complement their spouse's work schedule so one parent is always with the child and the need for childcare services is eliminated.)

-- Paid maternity/paternity leave and paid time-off for child adoption.

-- In addition to offering tuition assistance for graduate school degrees, IKEA also offers assistance towards undergraduate degrees; and, if a coworker completes an undergraduate or graduate degree while working at IKEA, they will earn a $1,000 bonus. (In 2003, nearly 1,500 coworkers utilized tuition assistance.)

-- Coworker quiet rooms, recreation rooms, lactation rooms, and a comfortable and entertaining room area for coworkers' family members to enjoy when visiting, as well as deeply discounted hot and cold meals at IKEA Restaurants.

-- All coworkers are eligible for 2-5 weeks of paid vacation per year, based on length of service. Vacation accruals begin on the first day of employment and coworkers are allowed to carry vacation time over from one year into the next, although IKEA encourages coworkers to take their vacation time every year.

-- Extensive professional development and training programs available to cultivate coworker talent and advancement, as well as mentoring programs and specialized training in such areas as diversity, health/safety and social and environmental responsibility.

Since its founding in 1943, IKEA has offered a wide range of home furnishings and accessories of good design and function, at low prices so the majority of the people can afford them. IKEA is recognized as a socially responsible company, continuously supports initiatives that benefit causes such as children and the environment, and was honored in Training Magazine's 2004 Top 100 companies that offer a broad range and depth of employee training programs. Currently, IKEA has more than 200 stores in 32 countries, including 21 in the United States. For its U.S. expansion, the company is aiming to open approximately five new stores a year. Other U.S. stores being planned include: Atlanta, GA; Bolingbrook, IL; Brooklyn, NY; Dublin, CA; Frisco, TX; Somerville, MA; Stoughton, MA; West Sacramento, CA; and Tempe, AZ. For information about working at IKEA, please go to http://JobsAt.IKEA-usa.com.

To be named to the 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers list, public or private firms of any size and in any industry (except those in the business of providing work/life or child-care services) complete a comprehensive application, including questions about a company's culture, employee population and policies on work/life and women's advancement. With the help of industrial research firm eXpert Survey Systems, applications are validated and scored on more than 500 points of information, including the number of work/life programs offered, the employee usage of such programs and the representation of women throughout the company. This year, Working Mother gave particular weight to three issues: flexible scheduling, time off for new parents and child-care options. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2004, Working Mother magazine reaches nearly 3 million readers and is the only national magazine for career-committed mothers. Its 19-year signature initiative, 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers, is a benchmark for work/life practices in corporate America. In 2003, the magazine published its first annual list of the Best Companies for Women of Color and held regional and national events on the topic. The publication is part of Working Mother Media (WMM), which also owns the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE), NAFE Magazine, and the annual 100 Best Companies WorkLife Congress. In 2005, WMM will launch a new annual publication, Working Through Pregnancy.


Jericho Communications
Sloane Imrie, 212-645-6900 x150


Jericho Communications
Sloane Imrie, 212-645-6900 x150