Learn about diversity and inclusion in Russia.
- One of the major emerging economies in the BRIC is Russia which I will consider part of Eastern Europe. SHURM, The Society for Human Resource Management, places Russia in the bottom 10 countries for global diversity readiness, which reflects a balance of social, political, legal, and inclusion metrics. So let's discuss their treatment of women, minorities, and LGBTQ employees. Then I'll offer a couple of pieces of practical advice about working in Russia. Starting with gender, there's strong gender imbalances in Russia.
Women have a 30% wage gap, and are very underrepresented in politics. There are also laws prohibiting women from working in rough industries like driving trains, fishing, or front line fire fighting. However, women have very high levels of educational attainment and comprise two fifths of senior management. So I think what we are seeing is a cultural shift in gender equality. In terms of minorities, there's been a large influx of immigrants to Russia over the last decade. And this seems to have resulted in some level of xenophobia among locals.
We also don't see very strong support for LGBTQ rights in Russia. In 2013 a law was passed that outlawed any speech that supports homosexuality in front of children. Despite those numbers, the Russian economy is growing and companies like Philip Morris International have made great strides in their diversity and inclusion in Russia. They have 40% women in managerial roles and they attribute this to efforts like Flexitime and remote working. For their remote working program they allow all employees to work one day a week away from the office.
And they offer sabbatical leave of up to a year for all employees. So like much of Europe, flexibility programs could increase the success of women in the workforce in Russia. Companies in Russia may also consider formal diversity recruitment programs, which have had great success in countries like Italy and Belgium. Russia is one of the four most difficult cultures for ex-patriots, but it's on the strategic growth plans for many US companies like Pepsi Co, P&G, GM, and GE. So one of the important things that companies can do for employees moving to Russia is to engage in high levels of cultural training and provide employee assistance programs to help employees with that transition.
Finally given what we know about bias in Russia it's important that companies publicly state their non-discrimination and non-harassment policies. So that employees know the expectations for working in that company. For example Coca Cola provides a long list of groups that are protected. Age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, family status, race, religion, and full time status. And they prohibit discrimination, or harassment on the basis of these characteristics. And carefully outline reporting procedures if someone violates these rules.
Russia offers a lot of opportunity for future business and it's exciting that diversity and inclusion can be part of that future.
- How prioritizing diversity and inclusion is good for business
- Establishing accountability
- Creating a global diversity strategy
- Creating a localized strategy
- Using benchmarks to track the progress of your efforts
- Measuring diversity program success
- Diversity and inclusion in Brazil, Russia, India, and China