Besides other dimensions of diversity, Vattenfall also wants to increase gender diversity among managers by having at least the same share of females managers as the overall share of female employees in the company.
Diversity and Inclusion is a strategic goal that Vattenfall actively steers towards and the results are positive: in the past 3 years the share of female managers has increased from 18 percent to 22 percent in 2016. In comparison, the share of female employees was 25 percent.
“Vattenfall operates in an industry that is undergoing significant changes and there is a need to develop to become more innovative, to access the best talent pools and to mirror our diverse customer base. If we would simply continue in our traditional ways and not focus on diversity and inclusion, it would hamper our transformation and not support our strategy”, according to Rainer Schulze, who says that Vattenfall has everything to gain by becoming a more diverse company.
“Increased diversity and inclusion gives Vattenfall better conditions to understand customers' expectations and needs -and thus open up new and more favourable businesses- because Vattenfall then would better reflect society”.
To get there, there is a need for active steps to change the situation.
“Every new recruitment or promotion decision is an opportunity to increase the proportion of female managers and the diversity of a team. We need to be aware and for example reconsider how performance and potential often are defined in gender-biased ways. Of course this also requires a good "talent pipeline" to select from, so that there is a selection of strong candidates to choose from”.
Vattenfall is therefore pursuing various development, mentoring and sponsoring programs and initiatives to attract, support and encourage women to apply for management positions. Yet, this is not only a “women’s or candidate issue”. Ultimately, it is up to those who recruit or promote employees to be aware and take courageous decisions.
“Vattenfall must keep a clear focus on inclusive leadership and inclusive attitudes in finding and retaining the best candidates and being an attractive employer for both men and women”, says Annika Viklund, Vattenfall’s Diversity & Inclusion Officer. She continues:
“We will have gender diversity in focus for years ahead and strive for a better balance in management positions as well as in our company overall. After all, our customers are both men and women and we believe in mirroring the society at large to better understand all our customers’ expectations”.
“The key factor is that the hiring managers are open for difference and are not trying to avoid risk by going for the “safe bets” and traditional thinking as they build their organization”, says Rainer Schulze.
Compared with other power companies, Vattenfall has a comparable share of women in its organization, but overall, the power industry is rather a bit behind, compared to other industries in terms of gender diversity. In Vattenfall, there also are big differences between the business areas and countries. Some Business Areas only have 10 to 15 percent female managers and employees, whereas other BA:s have more than 40 percent female managers (and around 35 percent female employees).
What seems to be the biggest challenge if you look at today´s figures?
“Country-wise, Germany is significantly below average when it comes to female managers in the organization. This is not solely a Vattenfall challenge, but in general, jobs in the German technology / utility sector are still very male-dominated.”
“But it is also not only about figures. You also need an inclusive culture in order to leverage diversity. Diversity without inclusion will not work. Therefore, there is also still some work to do in order to foster a truly inclusive culture at Vattenfall. But we have really made some clear steps in that direction during the past 2 to 3 years”, says Rainer Schulze.