Blog Post

Global Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Becomes More Critical: How do you measure progress and success?

By Barbara Frankel
December 7, 2022

With 90 percent of Seramount’s corporate partners having a global footprint, it’s pretty clear that a US-only Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategy isn’t going to fly anymore. Multinational corporations are scrambling to understand the best ways to reach employees, consumers, and clients in specific countries while maintaining corporate structures and values.

The adage “Think global, act local” couldn’t be more relevant these days. While inclusive global ethical standards are paramount—especially in reaching younger employees who want to work for organizations that share their values, the inability to adapt to local cultures and norms puts companies at a distinct disadvantage in recruitment, retention, creating an inclusive culture, and reaching the local markets and suppliers.

That’s why Seramount’s Global Inclusion Index is focused on looking at each country differently and helping companies understand which DEI strategies work across all countries and which need to be applied on a local basis. It can be challenging.

For example, in some countries, especially in Asia and the Middle East, it is illegal to come out as LGBTQ+ and can result in imprisonment or even death. In other countries, demographics— even sometimes around gender—are not collected as it is considered culturally unacceptable to ask these questions. This is particularly true for questions around race/ethnicity, religion, and LGBTQ+ status. We also note that in many countries there’s a growing interest in looking at whether employees are immigrants and from which countries they have emigrated.

About the Index

Seramount’s Global Inclusion Index measures corporate efforts in specific countries around gender representation at all levels, types of demographics measured and used for self-ID, inclusive recruitment strategies, advancement programs such as formal mentoring and sponsorship, use of employee resource groups, country leader and corporate involvement and structure, goals and KPIs used to assess DEI success, local DEI structure, and supplier diversity.

While filling out the global survey, companies have the option of choosing which countries they want to submit data for. There is no charge to participate, and companies earning spots on each country’s index are recognized for their achievements.

This year’s Global Inclusion Index included 16 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Singapore, the United Arab Emirate, and the United Kingdom. In 2023, Argentina is being cut (the only country where we didn’t get a substantial response), but we will add Colombia, Israel, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and Spain.

Participating companies receive a scorecard for each country showing how they scored in the three main areas we assess: demographics, recruitment/retention/advancement, and corporate culture. They have the option to receive comprehensive benchmarking reports for each country, showing how they did versus other participants, as well as in-depth reports for each country with information on local laws, demographics, DEI leadership, and advisory services on improving their local DEI efforts.

Global Data Trends from Seramount Inclusion Index

  • Most common demographics collected besides gender were age, immigrant status, disability, and race/ethnicity. These vary widely by country. For example, disability status is collected in 67 percent of company respondents in Brazil and Japan but only in 38 percent of company respondents in Canada and 27 percent in Singapore. Information on age is collected in 100 percent of company respondents in Argentina, Germany, Italy, and Mexico but in only 7 percent of respondents in Singapore.
  • Most common employee-resource groups (ERGs) were women, LGBTQ+, and race/ethnicity. Other common groups include sustainability and groups for working parents. LGBTQ+ groups vary widely, depending on the country laws and culture. For example, 100 percent of respondents in Ireland and Mexico have LGBTQ+ ERGs, while only 9 percent of respondents in China and 17 percent in the United Arab Emirate have LGBTQ+ groups.
  • Countries with the highest rate of women in the top two levels (40 percent top two levels versus 24 percent for all countries) also had the highest rates of formal mentoring (86 percent said yes versus 77 percent for all countries) and formal sponsorship (55 percent said yes versus 50 percent for all countries). The five countries with the highest rates of women in the top two levels are as follows (in alphabetical order): Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, and Mexico.
  • Multinational companies are struggling with how much corporate DEI should impact local DEI efforts, especially when values conflict. Our data shows the countries that are most likely to have their own local head of diversity are the United Arab Emirate (100 percent of respondents) and Mexico  (88 percent of respondents). Those the least likely are Ireland (43 percent of respondents) and Chile (50 percent of respondents).

The arena of Global DEI is just opening up. More and more companies are recognizing how complex—and how important—this is. In a world where talent is in short supply and needs to come from all possible sources, the potential for reaching underrepresented groups is crucial. As companies also grapple with supply chain issues and the need to reach new consumer markets and clients, having a diverse and inclusive workforce becomes the critical differentiating factor.

Interested in learning more about Global DEI and benchmarking against your peers? Contact us.

The application for the 2023 Global Inclusion Index opens January 31, 2023.

About the Author

Barbara Frankel
Barbara Frankel
Senior Director, Insights