BNP Paribas has been extremely proactive in promoting diversity across the Group since 2004, implementing a range of initiatives with support from General Management. Gender equality is one of the Group’s core commitments.
In 2006, BNP Paribas identified discrimination risk as one of its 30 main operational risks, alongside corruption and fraud. The Group stepped up its commitment in 2009 with two new goals: recruiting more international profiles at every level and promoting women, with a target of 20% women in senior management positions by the end of 2012.
At end-2011, women made up 53% of the Group’s global workforce and senior management positions were already filled by nearly 19.3% women. The Board of Directors counts 37.5% women members. In December 2011, one woman who has spent her entire career at BNP Paribas became a member of the Group Executive Committee. She was appointed head of Retail Banking in France (2,200 branches and over 32,000 employees) – a clear indication of the importance BNP Paribas places on gender equality.
In order to support non-discrimination throughout the entire organization, the Group has integrated equal treatment guidelines in all its HR processes: recruitment, training, mobility, Talent Development Program and compensation. BNP Paribas undertakes to guarantee transparency in the recruitment process through an Ethics Charter and standard interview grids distributed to some of the countries in which the Group operates. In addition, objective evaluations are carried out in the talent identification process, which is based on performance criteria, the employee’s potential and his or her international background.
Lastly, the ‘People Care’ and ‘Lead by Example’ Management Principles include expressly the importance of equal opportunity and the promotion of diversity.
In 2011, BNP Paribas signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP). The charter is an initiative of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) for the promotion of gender equality. To date, BNP Paribas is the only French bank to have joined this community which shares best practices on a global scale. Elisabeth Karako, Group Head of Diversity, attended the annual meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 6 March 2012 and took part in a roundtable discussion entitled “Transforming the Leadership Pipeline to Advance Gender Equality and Sustainability”.
The Group is also actively engaged in awareness-raising initiatives. In-house training programs focusing on the challenges of diversity and the risks of discrimination have been set up in several countries around the world for HR and managers. Nearly 8,000 staff have been trained to date in Belgium, United States, France, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Switzerland and other countries. Outside the Group, “Backstage” is an excellent initiative designed to raise awareness of gender equality in the workplace among students and internet users. This discussion platform can be accessed via the Group’s Careers site and lets applicants put questions to experts from the bank’s business lines and functions. Diversity is one of the many topics of discussion. ‘Backstage Meetings’ are also organized with university students. BNP Paribas held a ‘Backstage Meeting’ focusing on gender equality in 2011 which proved very popular with female students.
Initiatives supported by the Group
BNP Paribas supports a wide variety of initiatives to promote gender equality in the workplace. Following are just a few examples.
A network of women managers was formed in France in 2004 by Group Human Resources (originally called MixCity, the network officially became the Association BNP Paribas MixCity in 2009). The aim is to give the Group’s women managers an opportunity to network and share their experiences. The organization offers a range of activities, including meetings with G100 members, evening conferences, training and coaching. It counted nearly 600 members in France at end-2011.
Similar networks have been developed around the world, in Bahrain, Belgium, the United States (WBNG: Women’s Business Networking Group), Luxembourg and the United Kingdom (WIN: Women’s Internal Network).
In 2011, BNP Paribas Wealth Management forged a partnership with Women Equity for Growth (WEG), a European organization which supports the development of growing SMEs led by women and encourages them to become templates for success. BNP Paribas Wealth Management sponsors the Women Equity Growth Index (WEGI), which was first published in 2011. The index is a ranking of the 50 fastest-growing companies run by women in France. It is the product of extensive research and groups data which has never been analysed in this manner.
Let’s continue to make 8 March a day like any other by joining together, men and women alike, to move forward on gender equality.