The Nordic Business Diversity Index includes listed companies in Finland and Sweden which publicly share information for at least three of the four assessed variables: gender, nationality, age and educational background. The Finnish process industry company Neles and Nordea are new in the top five as recent changes in the management teams have ensured more diversity at top leadership level. Nordea also gets good scores when it comes to the gender balance in the Board of Directors.
“Diversity and inclusion should always start at the top, and this report gives us an interesting insight into the current situation. It clearly shows that we’re on the right path. At Nordea we acknowledge that our organisation is diverse, but also that this is a continuous improvement path. We know that diversity and inclusion make us better, both in our aim to deliver great customer experiences, in our efforts to create the best workplaces and long term to deliver the best financial performance. Diversity of thoughts is crucial to succeeding,” says CEO Frank Vang-Jensen in the report.
Broad workforce diversity
In addition to the increased diversity at top management level, Nordea performs well on other parameters: There is broad variation in terms of age, educational back ground and working experience in the company. While registration of employees’ ethnic backgrounds is not allowed in all countries, more than 50 languages are spoken at Nordea, which indicates broad cultural diversity as well. We also have great employee engagement via our many Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) that supports the work on defining challenges and opportunities to foster an inclusive workplace.
The index also underlines differences between the Nordic countries with Finland a bit ahead in diversity: 84 per cent of Finnish and 62 per cent of Swedish large cap companies achieve at least half of the total index points.
“We often look at the Nordic countries as very similar to each other, but this report clearly shows that we have different starting points. This can be a weakness as well as a strength and I think we can gain a lot by learning from each other – why do we succeed with one thing in Finland and another in Denmark, for example. From Nordea’s perspective this is a strength and a great opportunity as we operate in the Nordic context. We also see big differences between the large companies and small and medium-sized ones. I think it’s interesting to reflect on how we can learn from, help and inspire each other,” Frank Vang-Jensen says.
Nordea is presenting a new Diversity & Inclusion strategy during the spring and is engaged in human rights and equality, through partnering with for example Pride and our active ownership strategy.
Gender balance at Nordea
The index shows that men are still the majority in the highest executive positions. In the large Nordic companies, the gender balance of the boards of directors is more or less the same across countries, with 25-36 per cent being women. When it comes to executive teams, the large Danish companies and small Finnish companies are clearly lagging behind.
At Nordea the gender balance in the workforce is 51 per cent women and 49 per cent men, while it’s40 per cent women and 60 per cent men at leadership level. Nordea’s Board of Directors consists of 60 per cent men and 40 per cent women.
About the index
The sample in the study included all publicly listed companies with an executive team and board consisting of at least four people from Nasdaq Helsinki main list, and the Large Cap companies from Nasdaq Stockholm and Copenhagen. This year’s index covers only Finnish and Swedish listed companies as the information available on the Danish companies was too limited. Altogether 244 companies were included.