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The Financial Times is publishing its second annual Diversity Leaders ranking at a time when the global pandemic has forced remote working en masse and social justice movements have gained heightened attention inside workplaces and elsewhere.
The survey of more than 100,000 employees from 15,000 companies, 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.
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It is clear that employees’ perceptions are not always the same as those of their managers. Last year’s ranking received intense interest and several companies contacted the FT and Statista after publication to better understand their place on the list.
The interest shown in the inaugural list prompted us to extend the scope of the survey to six more countries. This year’s Diversity Leaders were identified between April and August 2020 through an independent survey across 16 European countries. Statista also sought the opinions of human resources and recruitment experts.
This year, the 850 companies receiving the highest total scores out of 15,000 companies assessed made the final list of Diversity Leaders. Top of the list was Biocoop, a French organic food retailer that won praise for gender diversity. It was followed in second place by Infineon, the German chipmaker, then Booking.com, the Netherlands-based travel company.
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.
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For the full methodology, scroll below the ranking
* (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.
** manufacturing and retail
The Diversity Leaders 2021 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 850 companies receiving the highest total scores made the final list of Diversity Leaders.
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