Deloitte conference on the German-speaking market deals with the challenges and opportunities associated with age and gender diversity

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Diversity in business: good intentions are not enough

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06/03/2017 |
  • IMG Panelists Diversity in business

    (from the left) Lisa Backes, Dany Krier, Marc Glesener (moderator), Emile Lutgen and Paul Schilling.

Companies today are under enormous pressure. In the ongoing “battle for talent” they need to promote equal opportunities and diversity, and remain attractive as an employer for a varied target group. Businesses operating in Luxembourg, with its international labor market, are no exception. Deloitte took its fourth conference on the German-speaking market in Luxembourg as an opportunity to discuss this highly topical issue with representatives of local employers and present its newly published brochure focusing on “diversity in business”.

Women in management positions
Diversity within a company encourages creativity and innovation – on this point all the participants in the discussion were in agreement. Measures required to achieve gender diversity, and in particular the need to promote women to management positions, were a key focal point of the panel discussion.

The proportion of women on the management boards of Luxembourg companies remains in the region of just 20 percent[1]. This situation is also reflected in a study conducted by Deloitte Luxembourg, in which German-speaking companies from all sectors were asked about the proportion of women in management positions within their organization. At over half of the companies questioned the proportion of women in senior management is below 10 percent and is just over 20 percent at middle-management level.

Breaking down traditional structures
The majority of the companies questioned said that a mandatory quota for women is the wrong approach and it is more about breaking down traditional structures and questioning established thinking. In their view, the will alone is not enough and targeted support from senior management is an essential condition. “Both in the interviews we conducted and during the panel discussion it became clear that, in particular, greater flexibility is needed on the part of the employer. They are responsible for creating new, more flexible employment models that better meet the needs of families,” explains Jan van Delden, Partner and German Business Leader at Deloitte Luxembourg. “When it comes to part-time working, working from home and teleworking in particular there is still some catching up to do. These models need to be equally accessible to women and men.” State programs aimed at promoting gender-specific equal opportunities in the workplace, such as Actions Positives, are important initiatives that help companies drive such developments forward.

Changing mentality of younger generations
Flexible employment models are also becoming increasingly important in view of the changing needs of younger generations. According to the Deloitte Millennial Study, a healthy work-life balance, flexible working hours and meaningful work are more important to Generation Y than profit. Employers who take these changing expectations into account should therefore benefit from increased loyalty. “Companies need to adapt to the needs of applicants. Instead of offering ready-made solutions to employees, we need to listen and help them find the solution that is right for them within our organizations,” explains Paul Schilling, Head of Human Resources at Deloitte Luxembourg.

At the conference on the German-speaking market held on March 2, Lisa Backes, Managing Director of YCAP Asset Management, Emile Lutgen, Director of Human Resources at Banque Raiffeisen, Dany Krier, General Secretary and Head of Human Resources at Cimalux, and Paul Schilling took part in the discussion.

The complete market analysis “Der deutschsprachige Markt in Luxemburg - Nachgefragt” (The German-speaking market in Luxembourg - an in-depth analysis), which was presented at the conference and, alongside features on various market segments, also contains numerous interviews and survey results on the subject of diversity in business, can be found at: .


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