“We have to encourage diversity as a factor of efficiency”
Diversity is currently on the strategic road map of the majority of large companies for several reasons: efficiency, legal, ethical, gender-related, age-related, etc. That is to say, managing diversity has to be the organization’s basic unit of measure.
With the improvement of the economy and the labour market, this is the time to engage in new policies on selection, training, development and integration of all the collectives that comprise our working environment, without limiting these activities to specific roles of human resources departments but rather involving the entire business organization, especially its management teams, which need to commit to and assume the idea of encouraging diversity as a factor in organizational effectiveness and competitive advantage.
Owing to the growing mobility and interaction of people in organizations, companies, as a positive differential factor, have to place emphasis on managing diversity in order to attract the interest of potential employees.
There is currently growing interest in managing diversity due to the impulse of national and international legislations. However, the “how” of managing it remains a complex issue for most companies, as today there are many perspectives or ways of understanding diversity.
In Thales España we have launched an ambitious plan on diversity:
- Managing Diversity: activities aimed at integrating women with non-traditional profiles in our market sector, the new millennials and multicultural integration.
- Developing Leadership Skills: inter- and intra-personal.
Proof of the importance we give this plan is that in the past year our company’s President has personally assumed a clear commitment to diversity, which his entire management team has subscribed.
Numerous studies demonstrate the relationship between performance and diversity. According to a Crédit Suisse report, 58% of companies that establish diversity policies increase employee and customer satisfaction. In addition, reducing inequality between men and women could generate 12% global growth.
Thales has set itself some sharply defined objectives and its intention is for women to account for 40% of new hirings in the next few years, against 26% in 2016. Additionally, diversity in terms of gender, nationality and generation is taken into account not only during the hiring process itself but also in the preceding candidature presentation phase. The goal is for women to occupy at least 30% of management positions.
In the case of Thales España there is an underrepresented gender, the female gender, owing, among other things, to the difficulties in selecting women coming from technical degrees in which their proportion is clearly lower and is decreasing year after year.
Thales has set itself some sharply defined objectives and its intention is for women to account for 40% of new hirings in the next few years
Within the Diversity Plan on which various of the company’s areas are working, we believe it is crucial to encourage women’s interest in technical careers and to facilitate their access to education, hence the idea of creating diversity bursaries to promote their participation in these careers and drive their access to technical companies. In the case of the diversity bursary in the Polytechnic University, it includes a monetary allocation to subsidize their studies in the last years of their degree as well as an internship.
For us this type of candidate selection is compelling, because we attract talent from one of the world’s most prestigious universities in technical degrees while also fostering gender and generation diversity in our company. The agreement recently signed with the university includes other measures such as creating a Mixed Working Group between UPM and Thales that will agree joint actions in favour of diversity. Among other initial actions, we will organize events and sessions to encourage gender equality in the academic and technical professional environment, and we will promote greater closeness with students in a working environment.
For us this is the start of a fruitful collaboration with Madrid Polytechnic University. We are fully convinced that enterprise-university relations help students to access the labour market and provide better real practice of their professions in the working world.
To finish, managing diversity will be recognized, beyond simply composing groups with different people, if it succeeds in forming part of the mission of the organization’s collective, if it becomes a real criterion and if inclusion and compatibility with the employees is achieved.
“We believe it is crucial to encourage women’s interest in technical careers and to facilitate their access to education”