Diversity At The Top in The Netherlands, Time for Acceleration.

Social Economic Council (SER) advises the Dutch government to take various measures.

November 19, 2019 – There are still less women and people with a non-Western migration background in top positions at Dutch companies. The proportion of women in top positions is growing, but it is behind its objectives.  The Social Economic Council (SER) has now advised the Dutch government on an integrated approach with more robust measures. The advice has been presented in the Dutch publication: Diversiteit in de top, tijd voor versnelling [Diversity at the top, time for acceleration].

Part of the advice is a proposed statutory quota for the supervisory boards of listed companies to promote gender diversity to have at least 30% women and 30% men on the supervisory boards of these listed companies.(approx. 100 companies in The Netherlands).

In addition, ‘ large’ companies (almost 5,000) are required to set their own ambitious targets to promote gender diversity and will have to communicate actively and openly about both gender and cultural diversity. The SER advocates, a good supporting infrastructure will be needed for companies to actively implement and monitor their plans. This fits a Dutch labor market of diversity and inclusion.

According to the SER, proportional representation of men and women (50-50) and of people with a non-Western migration background at the top of business and society must become the new norm. In this way talent is better used, innovation and creativity are stimulated and social cohesion is increased.

For companies developing policies on diversity, attention should not only be focused on the top as there is no “one size fits all” solution. It requires measures aimed also at improving the labour market position of women (for example by investing in childcare) and people with a non-Western migration background (for example by handling of discrimination on the labour market). To achieve diversity and inclusion in society and in companies, a broad, integrated approach is required.

A majority in the House of Representatives voted on December 3th, in favor of three motions to comply with recommendations in the SER advisory report. The SER is pleased with the broad support to promote gender diversity and cultural diversity. The SER is looking forward to the government’s response. 

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Marieke Stoop

Marieke Stoop is the founder of Human In Progress. She is the content owner of the HR Portal NL covering Human Resources best practices with a focus on leadership, trends and labour law.