Toulouse, 26 January 2015 – At the 2014 Diversity Awards contest in Aquitaine, France, SPIE Sud-Ouest won the prize in the large companies category for promoting diversity in its campaign to recruit employees on work-study schemes. This contest, which rewards practical steps to combat discrimination in the fields of employment and integration, was organised by IMS-Entreprendre pour la Cité1 in Aquitaine, France, which supervises the regional platform of the French Diversity Charter2).
Recruitment on the basis of motivation and skills
One-third of the 65 employees recruited by SPIE Sud-Ouest on work-study programmes (apprenticeship and professional development contracts) at beginning of the 2014-2015 school year represent socially diverse categories. This ratio reflects the efforts made by SPIE Sud-Ouest with all its partners (Cap Emploi, local missions, training organisations such as Fondation d’Auteuil and Compagnons du Devoir) to integrate employees with different profiles from those of the usual applicants: women in traditionally male jobs, adults aged over 26 and young people under 18, workers with disabilities, people who have special difficulty finding work and unqualified young people.
This approach was all the more effective because company needs for recruits on work-study programmes had been identified well upstream in consultation with operational staff. While the sources of new recruits were defined by human resources teams, operational managers were able to choose their new personnel according to their motivation and skills rather than on the basis of positive discrimination. This proved to be a winning strategy for all concerned.
A wide range of profiles
The recruitment drive for personnel on work-study schemes for the 2014 autumn term also facilitated the integration of applicants sent by local employment missions, employers’ groups supporting social integration and qualification (GEIQ: Groupements d’Employeurs pour l’Insertion et la Qualification) and other social integration organisations. These new employees are studying for qualifications in various fields, including as network electricians, commercial sector electricians and heating/HVAC technicians.
A number of disabled employees have also been recruited on work-study contracts to prepare for vocational school-leavers’ qualifications with commercial sector electrical contracting departments in France’s Midi-Pyrénées region and with multitechnical industrial and maintenance departments in Aquitaine. Job-seekers with professional retraining plans were also hired on work-study schemes.
These recruits includes people from a wide range of age categories. In addition to the usual 18-to-26 age group for work-study programmes, the 2014 work-study recruitment drive brought in adults in mid-career and one very young employee, aged 15.
“The success of this recruitment campaign was based on SPIE Sud-Ouest’s long-standing relations with employment and training networks which we normally contact in the spring to ask them to send us CVs with appropriate qualifications,” says Claudine Sournac, Human Resources Development Manager at SPIE Sud-Ouest. “The special point about the 2014 campaign was that we decided to give top priority to the jobs and training network specialising in integration instead of going through the schools network as usual. Owing to the very good results we got, we will be taking the same action in 2015.”
(1) IMS-Entreprendre pour la Cité
IMS-Entreprendre pour la Cité is a French association combining 230 companies committed to promoting corporate social responsibility CSR). As a centre for exchange, innovation and expertise, this association assists those companies with their social commitments regarding access to employment, diversity, support for equal opportunities in education, sponsorship, community engagement and the development of new inclusive business models for vulnerable clients.
(2) The French diversity charter
Launched at the end of 2004 by Claude Bébéar and Yazid Sabeg, the Diversity Charter is a written commitment which can be signed by any company, regardless of its size, that is willing to condemn discrimination in the workplace and to make a decision to promote diversity.
The charter states the willingness of companies to take steps to improve the degree to which their workforces reflect the diversity of French society. Based on six articles, it provides companies with guidance for the introduction of new practices involving all their employees and partners. It encourages companies to implement a human resources policy focused on the recognition and enhancement of individual skills and so foster cohesion and social equality while improving their efficiency.
The charter is supported by the main French employers’ associations, numerous business networks and public authorities.
SPIE Sud-Ouest has been a signatory of the corporate diversity charter since 2010.
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