The varied backgrounds and combined talents of our Associates enrich our business. This is true across all levels of our organization and we aim to encourage further diversity in our management teams, in particular by increasing the percentage of Mars managers who are women.
We recruit and reward Associates based on capability and performance, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion, or physical ability. Each of our 73 country operations has the freedom to respond to local needs and shape practices that are culturally sensitive and consistent with our commitment to show respect for all and to open collaboration and communication.
Women are underrepresented in many workplaces around the world, especially in senior positions. We are proud of the progress we have made over the last 11 years, gradually increasing the proportion of women in management roles by one percent each year since 2001. Women made up 38 percent of Mars managers in 2011.
Targeted programs, mentoring and support for female Associates play an important part in improving gender diversity. In addition to our Women in Leadership program, which we piloted in 2010 and began to roll out in 2011, in 2012 we will introduce the global program for Women in Sales Leadership, which we have been piloting in the U.S. since 2010. We are also launching mentoring circles for women in the U.S.
Supporting women in their wider lives helps them to succeed at work. Read more about some of our work-life balance initiatives in Wellness
Developing Local Talent
Our success relies on hiring great local people and giving our leaders the freedom to make the best decisions for local business performance, Associates and communities. This approach works because we are united by our Five Principles. It also offers our local leaders a high level of accountability.
Our target is for at least 80 percent of each local business unit's management team to be representative of its local population. In 2011, 59 percent of our management teams achieved this target. While we are disappointed that this total is less than the 61 percent achieved in 2010, we are pleased that 69 percent of our management teams did maintain or increase representation of local talent in their markets this year.
We aim to develop both those already in leadership positions and those with potential for the future. For example, our Asia Leadership Forum is a development program that brings together the leadership teams of all of our businesses in Asia. Our Accelerated Leadership Program (ALP) is an intensive and challenging program for high-potential managers, and we run the program to ensure a focus on local talent.