In the world of work, gender parity means that men and women are treated fairly and equally, earning the same financial reward for the same job. It’s a principle that underlies equity, along with an equal playing field for all, regardless of sex or gender. While this may seem like something we can all stand behind, at the current rate of progress, it will take 131 years to reach full parity. This is according to a Randstad-supported report published by the World Economic Forum. 

We simply don’t have the luxury of a century’s worth of time. Every individual deserves the right to work and pursue a career for themselves. And for businesses, this is crucial: 42% of organizations point to talent scarcity as their biggest pain point.

At Randstad, our efforts to advance the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 5: achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls are deeply embedded into our strategy, and we pursue a holistic approach to this issue, making sure we impact our internal and external stakeholders. 

Internally, more than 50% of our managers are women, and we are working toward the same makeup among our senior leaders. We have created Business Resource Groups (BRG), including the global WIN ‘Women Inclusion Network’ BRG, to empower our colleagues. Additionally, Randstad has signed the CEO Statement of Support for the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a set of principles offering guidance to businesses on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community. Randstad is also a member of WEConnect International, a global network that connects women-owned businesses to qualified buyers around the world.

Woman operating a machine on a production site.
Woman operating a machine on a production site.

challenging the norm

Externally, our colleagues around the globe manage and support multiple initiatives aimed at addressing gender inequality. One such comes from Sweden, where we have partnered with Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) in Eskilstuna, to help them achieve their goal of having 35% women in the workplace by 2030. This is significant, considering that the construction industry is heavily dominated by men with some reports citing a mere 14% female representation.

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We want 35% female employees and leaders by 2030 to increase the inclusion and diversity within our industry that up to now has been very male-heavy due to ‘assumptions’ about how it is to work within the industry. It's about culture and to add value to the world we want to live in. We are by this goal creating a work environment where everybody and anybody can join no matter the size, gender, ethnicity or culture. It’s about togetherness and involvement.

Jenny Wärn
HR Manager, Volvo CE

The first step was to attract more women to work at Volvo through Randstad. In order to achieve this, we increased the visibility of female employees by recognizing them as role models. These are current female employees who would talk to potential new female employees, showing them that at Volvo both men and women enjoy safety, wellbeing and equal conditions at the workplace. Both men and women are recognized and rewarded for their efforts. 

Some of the operational obstacles that Volvo dealt with in the short term were, for example, providing female changing rooms and work clothes, policies on sexual harassment and measures to support pregnant workers and parental leave. While some of these may seem like short-term decisions, Volvo and Randstad recognize the long-term impact and that each of these take crucial steps to level the playing field.

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A lot of changes have happened since I first started to work for Randstad. When I got the job as a fitter at Volvo CE back in 2017, my department had no women. However, as time went by I saw an increase in female colleagues especially within logistics. I now have more women colleagues to talk to. I find that this has helped me feel more secure seeing as I can talk to women about different topics than with men.

Nilli Abdallah
worker at Volvo CE

Having started on this mission in 2017, with only 4.7% of female workers, by the end of 2022, female workers now represent 23% of the workforce. The efforts will continue while the results show the power of partnerships when committed to a shared goal and engaged with  staff as the key source for inspiration for other potential talent.  

support around the world

In the United States, Randstad’s Hire Hope program offers 9 months of career training for homeless and trafficked women, including paid apprenticeships and job support. With 3 phases, it is led by Randstad employee volunteers and partners. Over 370 women have graduated since 2014, 90% securing apprenticeships and jobs. Awards include GBA, ASA Elevate, and AFRJ Impact. Supported by the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, it helps women transition to stable, productive working lives. 

Over in Northern Europe, our teams in France have implemented a Management Charter for all managers to uphold company values, including diversity and gender equality. More than that, all French companies with 1,000+ staff must disclose gender pay gaps, promotions, and more since 2019. In 2023, Randstad France scored 99/100 on the gender equality scale, reflecting a decade-long commitment supported by leadership and HR policies.

Moving to South America, Randstad Brazil partners with clients to elevate female recruitment, prioritizing leadership roles. An example is our marketing team’s support of Scooto, an organization exclusively employing women and mothers for remote and flexible positions. 

These are a few instances of our ongoing commitment to addressing the very real - often structural - issues faced by women in the world of work. We will continue to drive forward towards gender parity through our advice to clients, support of talent, and dedicated offerings. 

For more, please visit our local sustainability initiatives report for 2023.

two friends talking waiting for a train
two friends talking waiting for a train