Breaking Barriers: SAP’s Success Story in Achieving Gender Diversity Goals
Explore the inspiring story of SAP’s journey toward gender parity in the workplace, the culture of intentional inclusion, and the powerful example it sets for the future.
In 2011, SAP set an ambitious goal to achieve 30% women in its workforce and 25% women in management, respectively a 5% and 7% increase for each. Upon achieving both goals in 2017, SAP recommitted to a 1% increase in female representation for both the workforce and management, setting the next goals of 35% women in the workforce and 30% women in management roles to be completed in 2022. While I was not here when any of these goals were set, I have been fortunate enough to work in the Diversity and Inclusion space since 2021 and witness first-hand the effort that SAP put forward to accomplish its goals. While we have celebrated achieving 35% women in the workforce previously, I want to take a moment and remark on those that truly contributed to this success.
Being a member of the team, the first place that I think of when considering any diversity related topic is SAP’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Office (GDIO) and its associated Board Area and Regional teams. The GDIO is one of the key drivers that starts with the creation of high-level strategies and works down to active implementation. They strive to make SAP a more inclusive place meant to empower all of its employees. It is this drive for inclusion that has brought about new programs targeting women, early talents, the neurodiverse, and more. In doing so, we can actually see a strong correlation between these programs and our active retention rate. In 2022, the year we achieved 35% women in workforce, we had a female voluntary retention rate of 93.2%. It is not uncommon to see these same types of figures in other targeted areas, to which I must give credit to my colleagues at the GDIO, including their Board Area and Regional counterparts, for their impressive work.
To truly think about increasing our workforce representation, we should look no further than those that are the first in contact with prospective candidates. The Global Talent Attraction team has been making strides over the years, relying heavily on statistics and the promotion of roles to find a wide range of eligible candidates for every role. In 2022, we saw them come up with the goal that 38% of all external hires would be women due to their improvements with talent pool sourcing. And I can report that at the end of 2022, TA achieved a share of 38.1%. This year they promoted a more ambitious goal, which I look forward to seeing them succeed at once again.
The last group that I want to highlight may be the most important and the least discussed or attributed to success. This would of course be the front-line managers that work at SAP every day. Managers at SAP clearly operate with a focus of pushing SAP further, be it technologically, financially, or otherwise. However, it doesn’t stop here. Without the influence of managers adopting inclusive practices, we would not see improvements in the workforce. One clear data point showing this is the share of women that received a promotion in 2022. In 2022, an equitable 36% share of women received promotions, falling directly in line with the actual representation of women in our workforce. If managers were not actively hiring, promoting, or leading with an inclusive mindset, we at SAP would not be able to celebrate achieving such milestones.
Now that we have attained our next step towards gender parity in the workforce, I look forward to seeing SAP achieve its next goal of 40% women in the workforce by the end of 2030. With what I have seen so far, I am certain that SAP can achieve it so long as we see continued collaboration and focus on cultivating a culture of intentional inclusion.