Employees score Europe’s companies on diversity
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
The Financial Times publishes its third annual Diversity Leaders ranking at a time when more atomised working patterns, brought on by the pandemic, have pushed discussions around inclusivity to the fore.
Accompanying this backdrop, chief executives are trying stem an outflow of workers in what has been dubbed the “Great Resignation” as employees increasingly question the relevance of their jobs — therefore placing greater emphasis on the importance of company culture and businesses’ ability to retain talent.
The survey of more than 100,000 employees, conducted by our research partner Statista, assesses employees’ perception of companies’ inclusiveness or efforts to promote various aspects of diversity. These include gender balance, openness to all forms of sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, disability and age.
The list does not claim to be complete: employee perceptions may not always be aligned with the work that a given company has, or has not, actually carried out to improve diversity, for instance. Collating quantitative data on companies’ diversity targets and outcomes, across several European jurisdictions, would be challenging for several legal and practical reasons, hence why the focus of this ranking is largely on employee perception.
This year’s Diversity Leaders were identified between April and August 2021 through an independent survey across 16 European countries. Statista also sought the opinions of human resources and recruitment experts. Of the companies with eligible scores from the 15,000 assessed, the 850 businesses with the highest scores made the final list.
Top of the list was Hermes, the French luxury brand, which moved up from fifth place last year, scoring well across all dimensions including ethnicity. Hot on its heels was rival fashion brand Giorgio Armani, which scored highly on LGBT+, followed in third place by Infineon, the German chipmaker that ranked second last year.
The views of typically under-represented groups including women, workers over the age of 50, and the ethnically diverse were given more weight in the survey. The countries covered were: Austria; Belgium; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Ireland; Italy; Luxembourg; the Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Spain; Sweden; Switzerland and the UK.
For the full methodology, scroll below the ranking
Notes: *(European) Headquarters: managerial centre of the company, either for its global operations or for Europe. In most cases, headquarters corresponds with the registered main legal address of the company, yet this is not necessarily the case. Ikea, for example, has its legal head office in the Netherlands but many of the administrative functions remain in Sweden where the company was founded.
**While Google’s European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, is in charge of sales and marketing, the company also runs one of its global engineering hubs in Europe, which is based in Zurich, Switzerland.
The Diversity Leaders 2022 have been identified in an independent survey of more than 100,000 employees across the countries and sectors covered. In addition, Statista sought the opinions of human resources and recruitment experts.
A call to evaluate employers was published on FT.com, enabling FT readers to share their views. All respondents were also given the chance to evaluate other prominent employers in their respective industries. (To avoid any perceived conflict of interest, the Financial Times and Statista were excluded from the list of companies eligible to be ranked.)
The survey was conducted using online access panels, consisting of representative samples of the workforce in each of the 16 countries (even if companies’ headquarters are shown in the list to be elsewhere).
Without being told the purpose of the exercise, participants were asked which company or institution they worked for. Survey participants were first asked to what extent they thought their employer promoted diversity on a scale from zero to 10.
Employees were then asked to give their opinion on a series of statements surrounding age, gender, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation. The rate of agreement or disagreement regarding the statements was captured using a five-point Likert scale. The surveys took an average of 6-9 minutes to complete in field research conducted between April and August 2020.
To reflect the opinions of under-represented groups, the evaluations of women, the elderly, and the ethnically diverse were weighted significantly higher than others’ views.
The average number of evaluations for each company in the ranking was 216. The 850 companies receiving the highest total scores made the final list of Diversity Leaders.
*The table has been updated since publication to correct Colt Group to Colt Technology Services