Ericsson aims to improve gender diversity

Ericsson aims to increase the proportion of women in its workforce by more than a third by 2020, as part of a drive that began about two years when the Swedish telecom firm realized that the gender ratio among its employees was skewed and needed to be corrected.
The company wants to have 30% women in its workforce in the next four years, up from 22% at present, following realisation that a more balanced workforce performs better. Its global management team found that even from a business perspective, in order to achieve greater customer satisfaction, more women at the workplace result in better collaboration and cooperation.
This drove the company to more than double the share of women among its workforce in India, for instance, to 15% from 7% two years ago.
ET had last year reported that although women make up over 48% of India’s population, offices and factories, women are a minority of less than 2% at some of the country’s top companies.
Maria Angelica Perez, Ericsson’s global head, Diversity and Inclusion, told ET that the company created a global diversity inclusion council to facilitate the gender diversity drive.
“We focused on three things: gender, nationality and generations. There are things we cannot track but these are the three key areas we can keep track of on a global level,” she said.
Across most countries where the company operates, it faces similar gender issues while cultural issues change. The biggest challenge, Perez said, is to provide equal opportunities for everyone. “The challenges include people believing that women should not do certain roles. That is true for Indians as well,” she said.
Every now and then issues such as “a woman shouldn’t be carrying cables, digging holes or climbing towers” pop up, she said. To address this problem, the company has tasked senior-level executives with mentoring high-potential female employees across centres.