2022 GLF Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Report



Measuring the industry’s progress on Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging

  • The 2022 respondents have been divided into two cohorts: (A) “repeat respondents”, referring to GLF members who participated in both 2021 and 2022 surveys, and (B) “new respondents”, referring to GLF members participating in this survey for the first time. The rationale for the division is that Cohort A typically have greater Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DIB) focus and progress versus Cohort B; therefore, by dividing the respondents into the two groups, we can compare the different DIB profiles.
  • The notion that Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging is strategically important is 100% subscribed to by Cohort A GLF members, showing a +14pp increase from 2021. Comparatively, only 60% of Cohort B recognize the strategic importance of DIB – significantly lower than both the 2021 respondents and the repeat GLF respondents.
  • 46% of Cohort A have an inherent belief in DIB without being able to articulate its specific benefits. The remaining 54% consider DIB a differentiator in driving individual performance improvement, attracting, and retaining talent, enhancing innovation and richness of thinking, and enabling a closer customer relationship. In comparison, 20% of Cohort B do not see any benefits associated with DIB or consider it as part of business-as-usual; 30% believe it is the just “right thing to do”; with the remaining 50% articulating further benefits, similar to those provided by Cohort A.
  • The level of focus on DIB has remained consistent for Cohort A. However, we have seen a a change in perspective on the level of focus as these members delve deeper into addressing DIB. This has resulted in an increasing awareness that (1) much more needs to be done to truly drive DIB; and (2) the nature of DIB is constantly changing and hence requires constant attention and focus.
  • Intersectionality is another topic receiving increased attention from Cohort A, with recognition that individuals cannot be defined by a single DIB axis, and therefore focusing on one dimension or multiple dimensions in an isolated fashion limits potential impact. As a result, GLF members are deliberately broadening their DIB focus areas to incorporate more diversity dimensions and intersectionality.
  • The GLF members within Cohort B show much lower focus across all diversity axes, except race. Three reasons for this were provided: (1) businesses consider themselves “naturally diverse” and therefore do not believe focus is required, (2) DIB is considered complex and varying by geography and therefore needs to be treated subtly to ensure respect and sensitivities are recognized for all perspectives and (3) many of these members are just starting their DIB journeys, and only have capacity to focus on one or two diversity categories.
  • Cohort A’s sustained focus has translated into significant progress from 2021. 69% of Cohort A believe they are diverse in at least one axis versus 43% in 2021. Additionally, 31% now believe they are diverse in both race and gender, a +14pp uplift from 2021. In comparison, 50% of Cohort B believe they are diverse in one axis, but none believe they are diverse in both gender and race.
  • Three factors are consistent across GLF members experiencing strong DIB tractions and progress:
    • 1. Leadership sponsorship – results continue to show organizations with CEO-led DIB strategies have more focused and impactful DIB strategies than those where responsibility lies at a lower level.
    • 2. Formal structures in place – DIB traction it is often because of new formal structures/units in place. There is an evolution where over time it comes onto the CEO agenda, the CEO pushes it personally, and then formal structures are put in place.
    • 3. A holistic set of KPIs linked to leadership remuneration targets – Previously KPIs were primarily focused on gender and race representation, this has expanded to track areas such as age, sexual orientation, and disabilities. In addition, many GLF members have started setting KPIs with qualitative targets and ambitions; linking these to leadership performance remuneration and bonuses.




Building a culture of inclusion in the telecoms industry

  • Inclusion is the crucial enabler to a meaningful and sustainable change in diversity and representation. Inclusion centers around understanding and respect with the objective of creating an environment where all employees from all different backgrounds feel valued, respected, accepted, and encouraged to fully participate in the organization.
  • Greater than 80% of GLF members view inclusion as a strategic priority, due to its positive impact on business performance and talent retention.
  • 70% of GLF members have both increased their focus on inclusion and progressed their level of inclusivity over the last 12 months, primarily attributed to the effects of COVID-19 on the workplace.
  • However, a majority of GLF members remain moderately inclusive, citing barriers such as achieving management focus with so many other competing business priorities and lack of effective inclusivity measurement tools.
  • GLF members have found incorporating KPIs into leadership’s performance target, with the same level of importance as financial and customer experience targets, has assisted in aligning management focus.
  • Due to the focus on inclusiveness, more than 80% of GLF members have undertaken initiatives to improve inclusiveness. These include (1) leaders playing an active role in activities and communicating the importance and company values regarding inclusion, (2) trainings, tools and communications aimed at creating a respectful environment, (3) exploratory initiatives to understand the level of inclusiveness and barriers, (4) structural changes and bespoke groups /programs for different employee groups and, lastly (5) introducing inclusivity KPIs for leadership and the rest of the organization.




Diversity deep dives

  • Gender diversity remains the strongest focus diversity dimension for Cohort A with an average score of 4.7 out of 5.0, a slight increase from the previous year’s average score of 4.6.
    Cohort B have a significantly lower focus on gender with an average focus of 4.0, related to the fact that there is lower recognition of the commercial benefits of gender balance and higher perceived implementation complexity.
  • GLF members believe there are both inherent organization barriers for women in the workplace resulting from historic biases, and “self-imposed” barriers as women tend to be less inclined to be assertive in the workplace, push for promotions and apply for senior positions.
  • Both cohorts cite challenges regarding availability of women, particularly within technical spheres, to meet gender targets; and difficulties in implementing a representative interview panel, due to low level of senior female leaders.
  • 100% of Cohort A feel they have seen gender progress over the last 12 months, which has resulted in a +27pp increase in the number of gender diverse and gender highly diverse companies. We are seeing gender representation numbers returning to 2020 levels, after a steep drop in 2021. Progress here has been attributed to an increased level of tracking of gender representation levels and linking these to leaderships remuneration targets and bonuses, women mentoring and management programmes, and female focused recruitment strategies.
  • Cohort B has shown significantly less progress, partially because the gender focus is not considered a priority for several of these members (as shown in Part 1 of this report); and secondly, the diversity journeys are a lot newer for these GLF members when compared to Cohort A with a lot fewer gender initiatives implemented.
  • The focus on racial diversity has declined from an average score of 4.0 out of 5.0 in 2021 to 3.8 in 2022. The evolution of this focus has been impacted by the geography of our respondents. We see our North American centric GLF members increasing their focus, whereas our European members appear to have a lower focus.
  • Although focus may have declined, there has been significant progress in the perceived state of racial diversity. Greater than 38% of members across both Cohort A and Cohort B believe they are fully racially diverse, a greater than +12pp uplift from the 2021.
  • Gender remains more progressive than race, primarily due to the higher levels of focus, the ability to measure gender progress and significantly more gender initiatives than racial diversity initiatives.
  • Respondents that perceive experiencing significant progress in racial diversity, attribute this to a set of impactful initiatives implemented, for example leadership development programs, mentorship, and coaching, best in class Employee Research Group strategies with strong leadership buy-in and sponsorship, and focused hiring.




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