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IKEA Has Been Named to Working Mother Magazine’s "100 Best Companies for Working Mothers" and Honored with the Family Champion Award.

Stock Options, a Company Car and a Holiday Bonus Used to be the Coveted Employee Incentives — Now, It’s the Chance to Put Your Child to Bed and Have a Better Life

NEW YORK, September 23, 2003 – IKEA, the leading home furnishings retailer, has been named in Working Mother magazine’s 18th annual list of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers,” and Pernille Spiers-Lopez, President of IKEA North America, was singled out for the Family Champion Award honor, which recognizes her support of family-friendly programs. As a recipient of the Family Champion Award, IKEA will be honored at Working Mother magazine’s gala awards dinner ceremony during its annual three-day WorkLife Congress at the Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers on Wednesday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m.

“We’re thrilled to receive the Family Champion award honor and for IKEA to be recognized as a great place to work, especially for working mothers,” said Pernille Spiers-Lopez, president, IKEA North America. “We empower our co-workers and respect people’s personal lives, and we have seen how in return people respect their responsibilities. This has a tremendous influence on job productivity, growth and development, which ultimately benefits our customers.”

At IKEA, workplace benefits include: full medical/dental insurance for co-workers that work 20 hours or more per week (a rarity in the retail industry), a fully paid health plan including coverage for domestic partners and children, paid maternity/paternity leave, paid time off for child adoption, elder care resources available, tuition assistance, a generous 401(k) matching plan, flexible work arrangements including job share, telecommuting and condensed work weeks, as well as quiet rooms and lactation rooms.

The IKEA company philosophy to create a better everyday life for its customers, as well as its co-workers has significantly influenced the company’s workplace environment, family-friendly initiatives and the benefits available to support co-workers’ needs. In 2002, IKEA saw a significant decrease in sales staff turnover to 56%, down from 76% in 2001. In addition, women represent more than 48% in management positions and are 47% of the company’s top earners. Also, 60% of co-workers take advantage of the flexible work arrangements that the company offers and 36% of IKEA part-time and full-time co-workers participate in the IKEA tuition assistance program, which has helped many co-workers complete undergraduate college degrees, as well as advanced degrees at graduate schools.

What used to serve as motivating incentives for employees such as stock options, a company car and a holiday bonus has now been replaced with a mindset that puts tremendous weight and importance on time. The opportunity to spend more “quality time” with family, friends and be able to do the things in life that bring personal joy, happiness and enable good health are extremely valuable to people across the country. At IKEA, co-workers are given the opportunity to “unleash their potential” and to have a better life with the company’s full support and commitment to work/life balance.

“We realize that if an employee’s personal life is in disarray, it can affect their productivity at work. We created a flexible workplace environment that emphasizes a work/life balance and provides professional opportunities without any gender or life situation limitations,” explained Spiers-Lopez. “If an IKEA co-worker needs to take time off to find a nursing home for an aging parent, be home to kiss their child before bed, or telecommute to best juggle caring for a newborn, they can actually do that without feeling guilty or worrying about risking their career aspirations.”

According to Working Mother Editor-in-Chief Jill Kirschenbaum, “Workplace cultures at the best places to work have changed and now reflect the permanent presence of working mothers. And companies also are responding to pressure from both men and women in Generations X and Y, who demand a balanced life. Work/life benefits are here to stay.”

IKEA is aggressively expanding in North America with 50 new stores in the next ten years, and has in place extensive professional development and training programs to cultivate co-worker talent and advancement, as well as attract new talent to IKEA. IKEA co-workers can participate in a mentoring program and take advantage of specialized training in such areas as diversity, health and safety, computer training, and social and environmental responsibility. IKEA encourages an “I want your job” philosophy, which enables co-workers to train openly and directly with the person whose career they’d like to purse as the next step in their professional development.

“By developing our co-workers, IKEA fosters a strong culture that encourages people to continuously expand their knowledge at IKEA and grow within the organization,” said Hope Bear, deputy human resources manager, IKEA U.S. “We are striving to achieve an ambitious goal to promote internally at a rate of approximately 90 percent.”

In celebration as one of the “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers” and recipient of the Family Champion Award, IKEA co-workers in its U.S. stores will wear unique t-shirts and invite customers to ask about the special honor and why IKEA is a great place to work.

Editor’s note: The IKEA statistical data highlighted in this news release and provided to Working Mother magazine represents figures from the company’s fiscal year 2002 when IKEA had 5,409 U.S. co-workers on staff. Currently, IKEA has approximately 6,500 co-workers in the United States.

Since its founding in 1943, IKEA has offered a wide range of home furnishings and accessories of good design and function, at prices so low that the majority of the people can afford them. IKEA is recognized as a socially responsible company, and continuously supports initiatives that benefit causes such as children and the environment. Currently, IKEA has more than 185 stores in 31 countries, including 18 stores in the United States and 11 stores in Canada. To visit the IKEA Web site go to For more information about Jobs at IKEA, please go to

Working Mother magazine, founded in 1979, reaches almost 3 million readers and is the only national magazine for career-committed mothers. Its 18-year signature initiative, “100 Best Companies for Working Mothers,” is a benchmark for work/life practices in corporate America. The magazine 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 Work/Life Conference. In 2003, WMM published its first annual list of the Best Companies for Women of Color.

“100 Best” List Methodology — 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, advancement of women and child-care options.