Diversity is embedded in who we are as an organization; it is our comparative advantage. The IDB Group’s workforce represents 44 nationalities across various continents and speaks all or most of our four official languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French. Our organization also counts 6% of employees who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community, 3% that self-identify as persons with disabilities, and more than 50% of employees are women.
Since its establishment in 1959, the Bank has made significant progress in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). As such, there is a growing demand by internal and external stakeholders to know where organizations like ours stand on this topic. We recognize that transparency drives internal accountability, helps the organization celebrate its accomplishments, identifies ongoing challenges, and contributes to the refinement of strategies and goals. For this reason, we have published our annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Report to share with you where we stand and what it means for us to promote equity in everything we do.
How do we define Equity? – Moving from D&I to DEI
In 2020, the IDB Group took an important step by adding “equity” to its identity. This was a clear step towards fostering an inclusive environment where everyone can succeed equitably.
If you are wondering how equality and equity correlate, the answer is simple. Both consider giving the same opportunities to all but have different approaches to building a sense of belonging. Equality recognizes that everyone should be treated the same way and have access to the same level of support and resources. Equity takes a step further as it recognizes fair treatment, access, and opportunity for all, based on each person’s individual needs. When we talk about being equitable, we are acknowledging that there are inequalities (historic or current), advantages, and disadvantages to every person’s experience.
What does it mean to be committed to DEI?
The organization’s business case for a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce has never been more important. This is without mentioning that promoting diversity, inclusion, and equity is the right thing to do as we build the future of our region. We strongly believe that operational excellence is only possible with a diverse workforce that drives innovation and has the means to fulfill their creativity, engagement, and productivity.
Accountability is critical in our continuous work promoting equity and inclusion in our organization. The IDB and IDB Invest have gone through a rigorous study provided by EDGE Certification, a business distinction on this matter, which included a review of our leadership development, policies, gender pay gap, recruitment efforts, flexible work solutions, and culture, among others. In 2021, we became the first multilateral Development Bank in the Americas and the second worldwide to earn the second level of the certification: EDGE Move and EDGE Plus. This level recognizes our progress towards being a more equitable workplace for both men and women, and our commitment to investigating intersectional issues related to gender identity and race/ethnicity.
Here are some of the priority areas where we have advanced in promoting equity:
Leadership at the IDB Group
We are transforming the leadership landscape within our organization. In 2021, women at the IDB
Gender Pay Gap
The EDGE certification also recognized that IDB and IDB Invest continue to have equal pay for equal work, meaning men and women with similar roles and responsibilities earn the same at the organization. Putting this into context, our differential is less than /- 5% which is considered statistically insignificant by the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) standards. Although there is still plenty of work to be done on this matter, it is refreshing to see that the IDB Group is on the path to reducing the gender gap and valuing each employee’s contributions based on merit and experience.
Our recruitment efforts
We have revigorated our recruitment efforts approach to make sure they are competitive, fair, and equitable. First, we made it mandatory for all employees participating as panelists in the recruitment processes to take Unconscious Bias training to better identify biases that can set at risk fostering a more fair and equitable competitive exercise. This initiative has brought great results, as almost half of our panelists successfully completed the training in 2021.
Another important step has been identifying the resources and targeted actions needed to better address the individual needs of potential candidates while providing equal opportunities to everyone interested in joining our teams. This year we carried out two career fairs focused on recruiting talent that includes LGBTQ+ individuals and persons with disabilities. We worked with various stakeholders who work closely with these communities to identify the resources and tools needed, so participants have a seamless experience in these events. For instance, in our first career fair for people with disabilities, we provided simultaneous translation and American Sign Language. In this event, close to 20% of the registered participants identified as having a disability. By doing these types of efforts, we acknowledge that there is a vast variety of intersectional talent out there and that the IDB Group has certainly capitalized on it by expanding its alliances and networks to ensure it can attract the best talent.
How is this commitment reflected in our employees’ experience at the IDB Group?
Our employees have taken active steps to ensure a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workspace. A key example is our Employee Resource Groups: The Afro-Descent Alliance Group (ADAG), GLOBE (LGBTQ+), All in for disabilities inclusion, and WoMen Net. These groups are formed by IDB Group employees and are completely voluntary. Through them, our colleagues carry out activities, advocate for a matter of interest, and most importantly, build a sense of belonging through community-driven initiatives.
We also honor these proactive efforts through our employee recognition awards, such as the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Awards and the Innovation Awards. In 2021, we received over 70 nominations for the DEI Awards, and we recognized four winners, including one of our Employee Resource Groups and a project that impacted the lives of students with disabilities in Panama. This was the first year we live-streamed the ceremony of the awards so the public could celebrate with us the impact of our employees’ work inside and outside the organization.
What’s next: Our continuous effort to promote equity
We have seen progress, but there is much more we can do to promote equity in the workplace. One of our priorities is to continue identifying the needs of our potential candidates and current employees. As part of our People Strategy 2022-2027, we are putting a big emphasis on our culture, supporting our employee resources groups, and collecting and interpreting data beyond gender to develop tailored solutions for our people. This is why, for instance, we are including a section on self-identification in our employee listening exercises, which allow us to develop tailored efforts, update outdated policies, improve employee benefits and optimize tools and resources to ensure an equitable working environment.
We intend to be the standard-bearer of DEI in our region and will continue building upon this commitment, starting at our organization, to ensure we drive meaningful and lasting change.