In France, for the same skills, name and origin can mean sending 4 times more CVs to get an interview according to the Ministry of Labour’s 2016 campaign LesCompétencesDabord.
Companies where diversity is a reality perform better
In the majority of French companies, “young talents” look alike, they have often attended a preparatory school, a grande ecole and struggle to break out of this “entre-soi” since their school friends become their new colleagues. Yet diversity is fundamental to break this “entre-soi” in order to challenge the way of thinking and encourage team emulation.
According to McKinsey research, companies that embrace diversity are 36 percent more likely to have better financial results. And like any other performance factor, good diversity management requires clear strategic objectives and monitoring. It is in this context that the Minister for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities, Elisabeth Moreno, has proposed that volunteer companies adopt a “diversity index” to measure the place they give to minorities in their recruitment and human resources management.
But inequalities are already present on the school benches
In France today, only 6% of working-class children go to the preparatory school, compared to 50% of executive children. Social inequalities and discrimination weigh heavily on young people from working-class backgrounds. Many talents are held back (or are held back by self-censorship) in their choice of direction, their studies and then their access to employment. Inequalities are not only social, they are also economic and cultural, to use the words of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu.
Some grandes écoles such as ESCP, Sciences Po Paris, ESSEC or ENA (with the “Prépa talents” initiative launched in February by President Emmanuel Macron) have set up quotas of scholarship holders to promote the integration of young people from working-class neighbourhoods among their students, but the effort must continue.
Everyone, at their own level, can contribute to equal opportunities
For the past 6 years, I have been involved in the Article 1 association, whose mission is to change the face and vision of success to allow each talent to choose and build their future with confidence and ambition. Each year, I accompany and mentor a young student to help him/her define his/her own model of success by putting all the chances on his/her side.
It is because I am convinced that each trajectory is unique, that talent is not only defined by diplomas and that each person must challenge his or her vision of success that I launched my podcast Gatemeri, a “resource” podcast that explores the notion of professional success thanks to the crossed viewpoints of personalities in different fields to provide young working people with all the keys to rediscovering or creating meaning in their professional life.
I was lucky enough to welcome Boris Walbaum, the co-founder of Article 1, who shares with us his background, the mission of Article 1 and how the issue of equal opportunities has become one of his life missions.
Today, performance factors in companies are no longer just financial, impact, meaning and diversity have become fundamental vectors of growth.The inclusion of employees from all backgrounds (gender, social and cultural origin, sexual orientation, disability, etc.) would allow each person to give the best of themselves and to contribute fully and jointly to the company’s performance.