Great minds don’t think alike - why diversity matters and what we’re doing about it

Sabine Hansen Peck

Senior VP, Human Resources, Communications & Branding, Amadeus IT Group

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Barely a day goes by without the media carrying some story or other that indicates that minority groups in business – and, yes, that includes women, the majority minority group! – continue to struggle to achieve equality in the workplace.

That has been particularly apparent in the technology and engineering sectors in Europe that Amadeus occupies, where the middle class white male remains the overwhelming norm, and the incline remains steep.

Two steps forward

So I’m pleased that over recent weeks we’ve taken two very positive steps forward in our diversity goals in Amadeus. First, in our most recent round of promotions, we increased the overall number of female directors in Amadeus by 40%. It was particularly satisfying to see the biggest increase (75%) in the director population in our business functions, rather than corporate functions such as Legal, HR and Finance where traditionally they have been stronger.

Now, I’m not ready to declare victory yet. We have a long way to go here as the absolute numbers are not as large as I would like. I do believe that in comparison to the industry we are in reasonable shape – with 30% of our Executive Committee being women – and with a genuine ambition and commitment to improving.

The 30% of executive management being female sends a strong signal and gives us a powerful platform, and I’d like to see that 30% - as a first target – replicated at our director level and particularly in our technology functions – R&D and Operations.

And that brings me to our second piece of significant news: the appointment of our first Chief Diversity Officer, Malek Nejjai. Malek, formerly our Head of Corporate Communications, took up her position last month and will have a significant role to play in furthering our ambitions and putting our values to work.

I truly believe that in contrary to the old saying, great minds don’t think alike. Embracing the differences and diversity in opinion, thinking style, creativity, experience, gender, religion, ethnicity, orientation, makes a company successful.

At Amadeus we intuitively believe in diversity. As a global enterprise employing close to 13,000 people from 115 nationalities and present in 195 markets, we have experienced first-hand the advantages of being a culturally very diverse company. Aligned with our values, we believe that a diverse workforce is fundamental to creating a culture of merit and driving business results. Diversity for Amadeus implies creating a diverse talent pool and work environment.

We recognize that it is not easy to achieve all aspects of diversity without a clear strategy, this is why it makes sense to have a particular focus on this. I look forward to the journey ahead of us.

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