There is a well-established link between employee engagement and productivity, so it is no coincidence that this year's exceptional results come at a time when we have achieved our highest-ever rating in an independent employee survey. This places Edrington in the top quartile of companies worldwide.
The mission of our HR teams around the world starts with creating an inclusive and high-performing culture where people can be their best. I am encouraged that 79% of our colleagues agree that we have a work environment that is open and accepts individual differences.
This year we increased awareness of Edrington as an employer of choice in our field through the Make a World of Difference campaign, which has helped us to recruit talented people for 700 positions during the year.
People who join our business want to find an environment that is open and diverse, and which offers the rewards and development opportunities that meet their expectations. For those who are just starting out in their careers, we now offer a Global Graduate Programme, onboarding tools, and a network of peers to help them to feel connected with our vision, values and culture.
We have continued to expand a range of opportunities for our people to develop their careers, both within their current role and in building new knowledge and skills for the future.
We have developed our rewards and benefits to deliver consistency and transparency across the business. Recognising the higher cost of living in many countries, we implemented an interim salary rise this year for the second time.
In addition to the industry-leading Modern Family Leave policy we launched in 2020, we now offer a Global Carer policy that provides support, including paid time off, to those who need it. Wellbeing for all our people continues to be a priority for the business, and 1500 people attended events and learning sessions that are designed to encourage healthy and well-balanced lives.
We have made encouraging progress in cultivating a diverse and inclusive environment, with action plans in place to support the DE&I agenda in all our business units and regions. We have exceeded our target for the proportion of women in senior leadership positions and made further progress in narrowing the UK gender pay gap.
There is much more to do, but I am encouraged by the high levels of employee engagement, which signal that our culture is healthy.
This strong culture is supported by investment in our people, and in building the skills and capabilities that will deliver a new chapter of growth for Edrington.