Greater diversity in organisations, including more women, leads to higher performing teams and better business results. We believe that having more women throughout the talent pipeline gives us a competitive advantage and is essential for the prosperity of the European region.
ERT Member Companies are leaders in introducing best practices to ensure that women are welcome in the workplace. We fund initiatives in education, continue positive hiring practices, and ensure that women have fair opportunities to develop their careers.
Societal changes take time, but we would like to accelerate the pace of change. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for industrial companies from multiple sectors, of various structures, and from diverse cultural backgrounds. However, we believe that by stating publically our determination to progress from the situation in which each company finds itself today, we can raise awareness, stimulate discussion, and disseminate best practices that will continue the advancement of women in our industries and businesses.
Carlo Bozotti, CEO and President, STMicroelectronics
Chairman ERT Societal Changes Working Group
"We are keenly aware of the need to significantly boost the number of women prepared and qualified to serve on supervisory boards and as non-executive directors." Vittorio Colao, CEO, Vodafone Group
In an innovative 3-year pilot programme to promote the placement of women in non-executive director and supervisory board positions, ERT is working in cooperation with leading executive search firms Egon Zehnder International, Russell Reynolds Associates, and Spencer Stuart. Participating ERT Members will recommend top female talent they believe to be qualified for non-executive or supervisory board positions in other companies for inclusion in the database. The executive search firms will access this expanded pool of women candidates in proposing placements in suitable board positions.
"By bringing Europe's highest performing female executives to the attention of forward looking chairmen, ERT and its partners will help make a significant difference to international boards at a time when diversity is accepted not just as desirable, but as a critical competitive advantage. We are moving beyond the debate about diversity to the next stage: action and progress." The Spencer Stuart European Board Practice
"Gender diversity is on the minds of all our clients and our firms are pleased to support ERT in their proactive initiative to help increase the number of women in non-executive positions in Europe. Countries across Europe are taking different approaches to the issue of diversity in the boardroom from the introduction of quotas through to broad governance guidelines and this initiative recognises the need for companies, search firms and others to take a proactive approach to addressing the challenge." Harm van Esch, Co-Head of the European Board Practice at Russell Reynolds
"Egon Zehnder International is delighted to contribute to this innovative ERT initiative to promote gender diversity on Boards. We believe that the active promotion of capable executive women to assume Board roles can positively enhance the effectiveness of boards. It is also an important signal for younger women to aspire to the top of their organisation." Andrew Lowenthal, Co-Head Global Board Practice, Egon Zehnder International
The greatest challenge industrial companies face in addressing the gender issue is to increase the number of women throughout the talent pipeline. It is in the interest of companies, and also the prosperity of Europe as a whole, to encourage better utilisation of the vast female talent pool.
Because the situation varies widely between country cultures, legal structures, labour markets, industrial sectors, and even company histories, it is imperative that targets and measures to achieve them are commensurate with those different realities. The initiative ERT Member Companies are now taking allows for these differences. Moreover, at each yearly update, the Member Companies can report their progress and enrich their target commitments. Additional ERT Member Companies are welcome to join the initiative.
While all ERT Member Companies monitor figures about women and their progress in the workforce, it is the first time for some to go public with their targets. In doing so, they expose themselves to potential scrutiny and criticism. However, these companies believe that the best way to move forward is through transparent discussion of the issues.