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Diversity Charters come from across Europe to UNESCO Paris

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Diversity Charters to exchange achievements, current challenges, and perspectives on diversity management

(Paris, 23 October) Today, Diversity Charters across Europe come together to discuss the success and future perspectives for the EU Platform of Diversity Charters.

From 2004 to date, 13 national Diversity Charters have been established across Europe. The charter is a short document which outlines the commitment of the undersigning organisations to promote diversity and equal opportunities in their workplaces, regardless of, for example, age, disability, gender, race or ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation.

Ten years after the launch of the first Diversity Charter in France, more than 7,100 organizations covering around 13.6 million employees have signed national charters across Europe.

Questioned about the impact of Charters on diversity policies and activities, 95% of charter members found it positive. The role of the EU-level Diversity Charters Platform is considered valuable in all countries since it provides examples of good practices but also diversity management tools and network outreach opportunities.

Moreover, about two thirds (66%) of the responding signatories had included diversity in their corporate culture. 56% of them had integrated diversity into internal and external communication. However, indicators and measurements to monitor the diversity policies have to be significantly improved.

Focusing on the French Diversity Charter: Main findings from the annual assessment – ‘Bilan Diversité 2014 ©’

Since 2010, French Diversity Charter signatories have been asked to answer a yearly questionnaire in order to assess how they transform their commitment into practice.  The fifth edition of this appraisal, called “Bilan Diversité 2014”, was conducted across 1,300 firms and enables measurement of the evolution of signatories’ practices over the last five years.                                        

French SMEs are particularly committed to diversity

While 54% of signatories consider diversity as a main issue for their company (+ 8 points in 5 years), that figure jumps to 64 % for French SMEs (10 employees or fewer). Those small firms are also more advanced in dealing with emerging criteria of diversity: 30% pay attention to ethnic minorities (vs. 24% in firms with 50 employees and more), 22% to physical appearance (vs. 10%), 19% to religious matters (vs. 16%), and 14% to sexual orientation(vs.12%).

Diversity is increasingly considered as a way to optimise Human Resources management

Over the last five years, more and more companies have been considering Diversity as a way to improve their HR management (+ 23 points since 2010). Indeed, in 2014, 67% of signatories (50 employees and more) mention HR management as a reason to engage with Diversity. Findings show that they are actually developing more and more tools (e.g. diversity indicators) to deal with the issue.

Managers are at the core of diversity policies

Today, managers are the main target of diversity awareness programs in companies of 50 employees or more. 80% of those firms chose to target managers, while only 49% target employees.

Economic performance is increasingly at stake

The 2014 appraisal showed economic performance was a significant motivator in the commitment to diversity. For nearly a third of the firms assessed (31%), economic performance is one of the main reasons for diversity (+10 points in five years). For large companies (10,000 employees and more), this number even reaches 69%.