Internationality in Corporate Diversity Management in EMEA

The perception that Diversity Management continues to become more important and thus more prevalent in International companies has not been confirmed through hard data. The first comprehensive analysis of organisational structures for D&I in large multinational firms in Europe shows a steady increase in D&I functions – and the study found some interesting facts around the international scope and set-up of corporate Diversity departments.
25% of all companies surveyed carry the word ‘global’ as part of the name of their D&I function. This may or may not sound much, given that all 94 companies in the sample are actually international if not global players. One third of them participated in the research. All of the departments that provided answers were at least responsible for a country cluster or sub-region, and the majority looks after Europe or EMEA or acts globally.
Given the relatively small core teams for D&I, expert roles are not wide-spread. If they exist, however, most companies have specialists for gender, or for age or ethnicity.
The heads of D&I are typically from a different gender than the predominant management culture, i.e. mostly women in leading Diversity management positions in male dominated settings. In European companies, 45% of the D&I heads have a different nationality than the predominant management culture; for US companies, this is only the case for 12%. In American firms, 37% of D&I heads have a different ethnicity than the predominant management compared to only 29% in European companies.
The first study of this kind was carried out in Germany in 2008 by European Diversity’s German arm ‘Ungleich Besser’ and it covered the first years since the start of Diversity Management in the country. Two more reports were published on DAX companies’ D&I management since then. Reports are available for large US companies as well.
One in five Diversity managers has the ambition to take their D&I work to a truly global level.
Overall, the study shows that internationality is currently not at the heart of most D&I strategies. The preliminary results are, however, only a sub-set of a larger piece of research, which is carried out in co-operation of European Diversity Research & Consulting and the AFMD, the French Association of Diversity Managers. The complete sample contains 180 International companies from the UK, France, Germany, rest of Europe and from the US. The first part of the report will be sent out to participating companies over the next week. A public version will be produced thereafter, along with a comprehensive report later in 2012.