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In the letter to the parliament regarding the introduction of the practice, the Minister for Social Affairs and Employment refers to the lack of available data, which forms an obstacle to establishing effective cultural diversity policies for employers.
The Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER) is the most important advisory body for government and parliament in which employers, employees and independent experts work together to reach an agreement on key social and economic issues. In the autumn of 2019, the SER published an advisory report on the lack of diversity at the top of firms and organisations. The government adopted this advice. One of the recommendations was the rollout of a cultural diversity barometer to improve the measurement of cultural diversity among the workforces. The Cultural Diversity Barometer is part of the action plan ‘Verdere Integratie op de Arbeidsmarkt (VIA)’ (Additional integration in the labour market) of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. The task of collecting data on cultural diversity fits within the legal functions of CBS, the Dutch statistical office.
Organisations can use these figures as a benchmark for their own cultural diversity programmes. Furthermore, on a voluntary basis, organisations with 250 or more employees can ask CBS to take their barometer readings.
A pilot among eight public and private organisations has been positively evaluated.
At the request of the Minister for Social Affairs and Employment, CBS has created an online dashboard with figures on cultural diversity in the labour market. The online dashboard provides the following regional and national figures:
Organisations have two options for taking their own barometer readings.
CBS matches these data about the organisation’s employees with information on migration background as registered in the Key Register of Persons (Basisregistratie Personen). CBS analyses these data using pseudonyms and produces results only at aggregate level. These results can subsequently be used for comparing the organisation’s cultural diversity with regional and national figures. As the privacy of individual employees is important, the following practice was developed. There is no need to collect and present data regarding individual employees. Data are safely shared. Employees’ data shared for the barometer are used only for the barometer, and deleted shortly after publication. CBS replaces directly identifying characteristics with a pseudonym as soon as possible. All outputs are aggregated at group level. If individual employees are traceable in a subgroup of the workforce, the Statistical Office does not publish these data. However, the availability of high-quality register data is needed. The safety of transfers of data between an organisation and the institution that analyses the data is also needed. Only data at the aggregate level are made publicly available: no outputs are traceable to individuals.
An online dashboard with regularly updated figures on cultural diversity at the labour market can be applied as a benchmark. The practice would be transferable to other Member States or equality data operators.
Furthermore, organisations can ask CBS to provide barometer readings of them. Since 1 July 2020, CBS has offered the opportunity for organisations to request a cultural diversity barometer reading. Currently (1 February 2022) over 200 organisations have shown interest and over 45 organisations’ specific barometer readings have been published on the website of CBS.
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