First Spanish Diversity Barometer published: inequalities remain

The Spanish Diversity Foundation has recently published the results of a survey of Diversity in the workplace. The study of just over 100 Spanish companies reveals inequalities in the areas of gender and age diversity and also sheds light on the situation of employment of people with disabilities, work life balance and D&I awareness programmes.

The first Spanish Barometer Diversidad en los Entornos Laborales (BDEL) includes 102 companies employing more than 250,000 employees. 26% of the companies covered are small companies, 26% are medium-sized and 48% are large enterprises. Apparently, the observed companies are all participating in the Spanish Diversity Charter and hence cannot be seen representative for the Spanish economy at large. However, the Barometer serves as an indicator of D&I in Spain.

“Surprisingly, the study puts a strong focus on representation data which have so often re-created a quota perception of D&I and made it difficult for people to examine the Business Case and value-adding practices,” Diversity expert, Michael Stuber, comments the report.

With regard to Gender, the study finds that the share of men in the workforces of the surveyed companies is 60% compared to 40% for women. Beyond this, it can be seen that women are more underrepresented in managerial positions with an overall share of 34%, which is a number close to the EU average (33% in 2015). An interesting finding is that women account for 46.3% of management positions in small companies while they only make up 18% of managerial positions in larger enterprises.

For age diversity, the study finds employees being 30-40 years of age to for the largest age group (38%) in the workforce, while 40-50 years-old account for 28%. According to the authors, this shows the need to “urgently manage age diversity to obtain the best efficiency of knowledge and skills for each of the […] generations”. Again, differences between the company size clusters can be detected: small enterprises have higher shares of younger employees than bigger companies. This also means that small and medium-size companies employ fewer older workers.

With respect to the area of disability, the study finds that all companies, that are obligated to do, fulfil the legal requirements that exist for the field. However, only 32% do so by directly hiring employees with a disability while 68% choose to take one of the ‚alternative options‘ provided by the Spanish law (including the payment of a contribution through donation or sponsoring of organisations). 91% of large companies hire workers with some form of disability, but only 58% of medium-sized employers and no more than 8% of small companies do so.

When it comes to work/life-balance, the study finds that 89% of companies provide flexible work policies and 93% declare that work requirements are compatible with the needs of their employees. Parental leave programmes, however, are only implemented in 70% of surveyed organisations.

The only practical aspect that the Barometer touches relates to training. The survey mentions that 34% of the companies carry out D&I trainings and/or awareness programmes for all their employees. However, the nature of the programmes remains unclear. Also, the Barometer does not talk about the positioning of D&I in Spanish companies, the business case and conceptual cornerstones that would need to be known to assess the situation more concretely. This is probably needed as the BDEL is planned to become a biannual survey of Diversity in Spanish companies with the main goal “to detect the trends about good practices and initiatives that organisations are developing for managing diversity in their workforce and stakeholders”.