Despite our longstanding commitment to gender balance, like many IT companies we have struggled to significantly increase the percentage of women in our business. In 2016 we launched our Active Inclusion programme, to engage all colleagues in creating a workplace where everybody feels accepted and able to thrive in an environment that supports the career and wellbeing of the individual. Active Inclusion recognises gender balance as a business imperative and a challenge not just for our leadership but all colleagues in our organisation, and provides an opportunity to build on our existing initiatives and bring a different focus to the challenges we face.

To embed our strategy, each business area has an Active Inclusion champion who sets and monitors their own specific gender targets, encourages colleagues at all levels to take action and shares best practice through our UK-wide Active Inclusion Working Group.

Our first step was a UK wide survey overseen by an external diversity and inclusion specialist to understand the demographics and perceptions of our workforce. The survey was completed by 54% of employees and the key insights, shared with all UK employees, have helped shaped our priorities. The survey identified some key themes around the engagement of our women across different levels, a desire for transparency on pay, and greater understanding around inclusive leadership.

Creating awareness and generating conversation is key; Active Inclusion has run an intersectional, targeted communications campaign over the last 18 months, alongside interventions to continue to develop our inclusive workplace. Our vice presidents have taken part in mandatory unconscious bias training, followed by a bespoke workshop on inclusive leadership, outlining the clear expectations of our leaders to support and develop our female technologists.

In terms of attraction and recruitment of the next generation, our well-established schools outreach programme leads with over 6000 student interactions per year – working with key players (Apps for Good (54% girls), Prince’s Trust) to introduce the world of work and showcase IT as a fundamental skill and vibrant career choice. Over a hundred team members regularly participate in our schools programme – including 40 women in 2015, and 45 women in 2016. Our Digital Transformation programme with the Prince’s Trust supports some of the country’s most disadvantaged young women with a one-week digital skills course on coding and app development. In England our work is led by a young female digital entrepreneur: “there aren’t many women in technology, to learn a skill like that makes you really employable.”

In turn, our apprentices and graduates “give back” through their own programme, engaging with local schools and their universities to host workshops, career fairs and digital skills sessions. This face-to-face interaction provides huge ROI – in 2016, 20% (57) of our graduate and apprentice hires had engaged with our teams through recruitment insight events or our schools programme. We have seen some great success with our graduate and apprentice hires, hugely increasing the numbers of young women joining our teams, forged through strong links with schools and universities. Against our target of 40% female graduate and apprentice hires target in 2017, we are currently at 35% for 2017 (up from 25% in 2015), and in 2016, 15% of female applicants and 24% of female hires to our graduate and apprentice schemes in 2016 had previously met our team members or experienced our schools outreach activities.

Focussing on the recruitment of experienced hires, initiatives have spanned from an enhanced #referher bounty payment for female referrals in March, to female-led development programmes. Increasing our pipeline of female technologists continues to be a focus for our leadership teams and we are delivering a number of programmes on this, including embedding our [email protected] approach to bring talented professionals into the organisation following a career break. The approach is available across the business and provides coaching and mentoring to support the transition back to work (98% of applications for the pilot were female). We have worked with our recruitment teams to re-vamp our job advertisements to use gender-neutral language, instructed recruitment agencies on our requirement for a diverse candidate shortlist (with monthly monitoring and ranking) and re-trained our recruitment teams to ensure that the jobs we post are as accessible as possible for everyone. We developed hiring manager training and a “concierge” service for female applicants at all levels in our organisation, to give the needs of female applicants due attention in the recruitment process. Our actions are paying off: while the proportion of female new joiners in 2015 and 2016 remained static at 25.5%, it has increased up to 26.5% in the year to date – a small increase, but an important one in an increasingly challenging recruitment market, and when we hire over 1000 new joiners every year.

Spanning the purposes of attraction, development and retention, we’re especially proud of our internal role model community – women from all roles, levels and backgrounds, who are active on internal and social channels, sharing their experiences. One female apprentice said: “Being a role model not only allows me to inspire young women into tech, it inspires me to be the better version of myself.” Our Women at Capgemini external page showcases just a few of our relatable, real role models, speaking of their careers. Our role models network and structured development programmes have resulted in an increased proportion of female promotions – in 2016 this remained static at 25.5%, in 2017, this has increased to 28.8%.
Another innovative initiative that we are excited by, is our new approach of discussing inclusion and flexibility directly with our clients. Targeting our top ten accounts, our gender diversity champion, Martin Scott (Vice President) and Active Inclusion Lead, Bal Gill, are speaking with our clients on our mutual desire for talent, and to align on flexibility to increase the opportunities for all team members, especially our female talent.

As 41% of our employees have some form of caring responsibilities, supporting parents and carers to successfully return to work is critical to ensure that all our employees can enjoy a long-term career with the company. In 2016, we joined Working Forward – pledging to make our workplace the best it can be for pregnant women and new mothers. From an inclusion perspective, we have changed the conversation, renaming maternity, paternity and shared parental leave as “family leave” and refreshing our maternity, adoption and return to work policies. We run maternity and paternity coaching, computer-based training and have set up a new private Facebook Family Leave Community to help team members stay in touch throughout their leave and provide a network of colleagues. Over 35 members are active within the group, and HR Managers have reported increased engagement with managers and smoother transitions back to work.

In August 2016, 61% of respondents to our Active Inclusion survey said they had flexibility in how they worked. In October 2016 we launched our “Work Life Harmony” policy and campaign, encouraging smart and effective use of working hours while maintaining delivery – also known as agile working. To put this into practice, our business VP sponsors ran weekly support calls for managers, and promoted a new Client Engagement Guide to help accounts challenge their clients on flexibility. Our Twitter engagement achieved a score over 68.00 on the Social Recruitment Index in our launch week, and we had substantially more “likes” and “hits” on our intranet showcasing work life harmony in practice, including the profile of a male VP in the 2015 Power Part-Time 50. We also joined Hire Me My Way, pledging to recruit professional part-time roles; for example, in one area of business we have gone from hiring zero part-time roles in the past two years to hiring 13 in 2016. Nine months later, the EDGE survey found that 78% of respondents (an increase of 17 percentage points) make use of flexible work arrangements – through both informal and formal options of work life harmony.

As mentioned above, in 2017 we achieved the EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) Assess certification, the leading global assessment methodology and business standard on gender equality in the workplace. We received highly positive feedback on our Active Inclusion programme, particularly in senior leadership and communications. The journey does not end here. As part of the certification process, we have committed to a plan which we will focus on over the next two years. As we continue to create opportunities for those from any background, action areas include ensuring an inclusive approach to hiring and improving gender balance at all levels of the organisation.
We are also a signatory to the UK Government’s Think Act Report, initially publishing our gender pay gap in December 2016, and then in the format required by the government in September 2017, seven months earlier than required, alongside our commitment to reduce the gap. At a senior level, female representation is increasing – in 2014, 11% of the country board was female and we are pleased to have a UK Country Board that is now 38% female driving this agenda, a high level of representation within our industry.