Working toward a gender equal Skanska in Sweden
As CEO of Skanska Sweden, Gunnar Hagman is systematically driving his teams to advance with workplace diversity. But truly succeeding with gender equality involves strong industry collaborations, says Gunnar, who shares perspectives on this topic below.
How are you driving gender equality?
I have a clear goal to achieve gender equality on a top managerial level in the organization. Competence and equality are the key factors I consider when evaluating employees for promotion. Equality is also part of Skanska Sweden's business plan, which extends until 2020, and includes the objective to increase the number of female managers in line positions.
Change also starts with culture. Systematically we have developed routines and processes for dealing with harassment, something which has been around in our industry – and others – for a long time. We have, among other things, an ethical hotline our employees can report to if harassment should occur. We also work with a variety of activities like Ethics Stops and so-called Value Moments, where we talk about ethical dilemmas employees can encounter at work. The idea is to build awareness of biases, and through conversations promote awareness and changes in behavior.
For several years, we have also worked with diversity and inclusion scorecards and targets. We measure our efforts continuously and follow up, identify gaps and develop improvement measures. This is key to development.
Why is gender equality important to you?
It's very important. I want the best people, so why not recruit from the whole population? It is important that Skanska reflects the society in which we operate.
It is simply more rewarding to work in an organization with diversity. It is also about us as a company being able to safeguard ourselves for future challenges such as digitalization, new customer requirements and evolving business models. To be truly successful, we need a team with diverse experiences and backgrounds, different ways of thinking, and a culture where everybody can speak up and feel included to do so. It's also a question of performance. More diverse teams are proven to perform better.
In the past five years, how has Skanska Sweden progressed with gender equality?
In 2015, 10 percent of our managers in line positions were women, from a base of 240 managers. Last year, we had 18 percent women in that group. This is the result of solid and goal-oriented work. We have taken clear steps in the right direction, however, there is still a way to go.
This year we have raised the bar. The target is now to have 22 percent female managers in the company within line management. I believe we have a strong chance of succeeding in this, however strong leadership and proactivity are key. We need the power and commitment of managers across the organization to show the way and take part in these issues for everyone.
To achieve a gender equal workplace by 2025, what must Skanska Sweden do?
Actions like what I've mentioned move us in the right direction. But we still don't have enough women choosing to work in construction and engineering. To truly succeed, we need strong collaboration within the industry. If we all work in the same direction encouraging more women to choose careers in construction and engineering and clearly showing exciting development paths, I believe we can reach a more gender equal workplace.