Only 33% of large companies assign an annual budget to support Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) strategies
- >8 out of 10 Romanians believe that there are few brands that take concrete actions oriented towards the community;
- 34% of employees do not know the focus of D&I policies and practices in their organizations
The implementation of D&I practices (Diversity and Inclusion) represents an increasingly natural direction that Romanian companies should integrate both in their business and employer branding strategies, as well as in ESG (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) strategies.
In 2024, the percentage of large and medium-sized organizations in Romania that allocate annual budgets to support D&I strategies could exceed 40%, according to representatives of Open Minds – Association for Diversity and Inclusion. The estimate comes in the context where a study MKOR (2020) indicates that only 33% of large companies allocate such an annual budget.
Moreover, the effects of the lack of budget allocation were also felt in 2023, with 77% of employees stating that they did not participate in trainings on diversity and inclusion. Romania is the country where cultural and social barriers influence the speed of adoption and implementation of D&I policies, especially in regions where traditional norms and values prevail. In 2023, according to the latest MKOR study (October 2023), more and more employees believe that preconceptions (37%) and ignorance (36%) are the most important limitations to ensuring diversity in the workplace.
“The purpose of D&I initiatives is broad and encompasses all dimensions of diversity, to create inclusive and equitable environments for all people. However, reality shows us that there are still many problems to be solved in order to achieve these desired goals. Moreover, it is important to note that 4 out of 10 employees have personally experienced or witnessed discriminatory situations at work, especially due to political orientation, belonging to an ethnic group and older age. We aim to foster organizational cultures that encourage openness and welcoming of all, providing an environment where people with disabilities can integrate, where employees of different sexual orientations and gender identities feel safe to express their individuality, and where both women as well as men have equal opportunities to access a variety of professions and positions. Our commitment to remedy social inequities, visible also among organizations, represents a responsibility that we should all share”, said Irina Georgescu, Executive Director of Open Minds – Association for Diversity and Inclusion.
Employees need to know the policies of the D&I strategies in the organizations Diversity is a reality for organizations, but according to a study by McKinsey & Company in partnership with the World Economic Forum (2022), progress in implementing D&I initiatives is slow. At the current rate, it will take, for example, another 151 years to close the gender gap, with effects felt at a global economic level.
Another relevant study, carried out by NICE and co-funded by the EU (March 2023), highlights the fact that 80% of employees have not attended inclusive language training. In terms of the underrepresented categories that organizations focus on, the same report highlights that 86% of organizations focus on gender diversity, 63% address disability inclusion, 54% target ethnic or religious inclusion, and 54% are concerned with the aging of the workforce, paying attention to balancing the balance between young and senior employees.
Also, if we look at the positioning of Generation Z in relation to organizational identity, a study by Gympass, the world’s largest platform dedicated to corporate wellness, shows that they are reevaluating their relationship with work and would would quit the job if the organization did not focus on employee well-being. In a study conducted by IZI Data, in April 2023, regarding the population’s perception of companies’ sustainability commitments, we see that more than 8 out of 10 Romanians believe that there are few brands that take concrete actions oriented towards the community.
Although organizations in Romania have begun to understand the need behind the concerns of diversity and inclusion DEIB (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging), there is a need for the D&I strategy to be integrated into the business strategy, to ensure beneficial and lasting changes, according to Open Minds Association. Forming and supporting employee resource groups (ERGs) is a key step in the buy-in process, as it involves the direct and active involvement of employees in D&I programs.
In this sense, the Open Minds Association is preparing a conference dedicated to Diversity and Inclusion, aimed at bringing together specialists in the field to address the problems of underrepresented communities in Romania, but also to connect themes and trends to real needs in Romania.
- Omnibus study of IZI data https://ambasadasustenabilitatii.ro/wp-content/uploads/2023/04/Raport-AmbasadaSustenabilitatii_IZI-data_19.04.2023.pdf
- MKOR study, 2023: https://mkor.ro/studii/diversitatea-incluziunea-companii-perspectiva-angajatilor/
- MKOR study, 2020: https://mkor.ro/studii/diversitate-incluziune-organizatii-romania-2020/
- McKinsey & Company study, 2022: https://www3.weforum.org/docs/WEF_Global_Parity_Alliance_2023.pdf
- NICE study, co-financed by UE, March 2023: file:///C:/Users/a/Downloads/D2.1-Comparative-Best-Practices-Report_WEB.pdf
- Gympass study, 2023: https://gympass.com/en-us/resources/report?utm_source=demand-gen&utm_medium=blog-post&utm_campaign=us-b2b-work-life-wellness-report-1122&utm_content=wlw&utm_term=press
Open Minds – Association for Diversity and Inclusion is a non-governmental organization that facilitates the involvement of companies in the lives of local communities, through actions with positive impact that generate attachment, credibility and trust. Open Minds integrates the agendas of organizations with civil society initiatives in long-term and high-impact approaches.