BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE
Recognizing the increasing importance of Diversity and Inclusion, the European Petrochemical Association (EPCA) commissioned a survey of its member organizations to gain a better picture of the current status, progress and best practices across the European Petrochemicals industry. The survey and subsequent analysis were supported by McKinsey. From the side of EPCA, 19 member companies participated in a survey, which targeted both the “white collar” managerial workforce and the “blue collar” operations workforce and together represent a total of approximately 30% of the entire employee population of the European Chemicals Industry.
KEY FINDINGS FROM THE SURVEY
•The diversity baseline shows that about a quarter of employees in the survey companies are women, with an average of 24% across all corporate levels and participating companies. The share is much lower in senior management (“Top 100”) at about 15% and even lower in the operations community, with only 10%.
• In recruiting, about half of the organizations sampled track gender at different stages during the recruiting process and have put gender-specific recruiting tools in place. Even if the majority think their organizations promote gender equality sufficiently in their hiring practices and have a strong senior management commitment to recruiting women, their screening and selection criteria have for the most part not been aligned with their diversity agenda.
• In performance and promotion, only about one in five of surveyed EPCA organizations include gender diversity in their management targets and few have implemented stringent tracking for gender-related performance and promotion data. While promotion processes are perceived to be fair and gender-neutral performance evaluation criteria have not been revised accordingly.
• To foster retention of women, most EPCA members address family care needs and flexibility requirements by a variety of policies and many additional programs – however, few organizations have adjusted their performance evaluation criteria to recognize participation in these programs, often making it difficult for employees to benefit from the flexibility options without career consequences.
• Finally, gender equality is generally recognized as important, but is not a top priority for most management teams. Less than 50% of sampled organizations have implemented gender equality training and very few have future plans to do so. Less than half of EPCA’s surveyed member organizations have stated gender equality goals and only a third have developed a business case (rationale) for gender equality. MOVING FORWARD It is clear from the survey results that the participating companies have made a significant effort already on their way to a more (gender) diverse workforce. However, many areas for future focus remain, maybe most importantly the setting of specific targets and building a transparent set of metrics to monitor and manage progress, elements that are part and parcel of many of the other change and improvement programs implemented by EPCA members.
We believe that with the right combination of commitment and a holistic approach covering the key elements (management commitment, business case, metrics, leadership, organizational awareness and key supporting enablers), EPCA and its members can successfully build on the current starting point, also by leveraging identified best practices across the member companies
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