Diversity, equal opportunities and other human rights

The Volvo Group is a large multinational company and as such, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to our long-term success.

We are a signatory of the UN Global Compact and work actively to uphold the UN’s principles on human and labor rights. It is stated in our Code of Conduct that we shall support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and make sure the Group is not complicit in human rights abuses.

We seek to recruit and retain a broad spectrum of employees with different backgrounds, experience and perspectives. Our long-term target is for all levels and operations of the Group’s employee and management pool to reflect the diversity of the world in which the Volvo Group does business.

The Volvo Group does not tolerate discrimination on the grounds of gender, gender identity, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, nationality, political opinion, union affiliation, disabilities, social or ethnic origin. The Volvo Way is to work with energy, passion, and respect for the individual.

Diversity and inclusion are promoted in the Group’s Code of ­Conduct and in our Diversity and Inclusion Policy, which underlines managerial responsibility for working to increase diversity and create an inclusive environment. Diversity is a key factor in business performance and work on it is coordinated on a global scale. Targets are set at corporate level and broken down by division. Tailored plans are enacted at country and local level.


The Volvo Group uses two key performance indicators to measure diversity – the Balanced Team Indicator and the Inclusiveness index:

  • The Balanced Team Indicator is a quantitative measure covering nationality, gender, age and experience across different Volvo Group companies
  • The Inclusiveness index is more qualitative, gauging the extent to which employees judge their workplace to be inclusive.

The results for 2013 show the diversity mix of our top level management teams, overall gender equality and the perceived management focus on diversity are stable, but gaps remain to meet targets. In terms of inclusiveness, we made significant progress in 2013. These results drive improvement action plans, which are followed up in management forums.

Diversity training for managers

The Group Executive Team (GET) takes ultimate responsibility for diversity and inclusion leadership (DIL), ensuring they are part of business as usual. In 2013, GET members participated in a specially focused DIL training seminar to deepen their knowledge and establish common understanding of the topic.

The Group’s target is to train all managers down to CEO-3 level in DIL by the end of 2015. The training is run in-house and in 2013, we trained an additional 38 training facilitators from seven different countries. In total, we now have 157 DIL facilitators worldwide. They are responsible for running internal DIL seminars and supporting our daily work on highlighting the importance of inclusion to realize the benefits of diversity. More than 50 additional facilitators are set to be trained mainly in Asia as well as the other regions of operation.

Employee diversity networks

The Volvo Group has used employee diversity networks to help empower minorities and provide feedback to management on how best to improve inclusiveness and remove roadblocks. Since 2011, the number of groups has increased from eight to 11.

Working either locally or globally, the Volvo Group diversity networks have addressed multi-cultural issues and inclusion of women employees, women managers, women in technical fields, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) employees.

LGBT landmark

In addition to the Volvo Group’s internal worldwide LGBT ‘V Eagle’ network, the Volvo Group in France has joined the country’s ‘Other Circle’ association and publicly signed its charter. In this pilot initiative for the Volvo Group, the company commits to:

  • creating an inclusive environment for LGBT staff members
  • ensuring equality of rights and treatment for all the workforce, regardless of sexual orientation, identity or gender
  • supporting staff who are victims of discriminatory remarks or actions
  • measuring progress made and sharing best practice to improve the overall professional environment.

US early career professional network

The Early Career Professional Group was initiated in Greensboro by several young employees who felt a need to connect with peers to develop professionally and help establish networks. For the Volvo Group, this network will help the ‘Y Generation’ achieve their full potential in the organization. The concept is open for development at other sites.

Gender balance

It is a challenge for the entire automotive industry to attract women in sufficient numbers. The Volvo Group has a long-term ambition to increase the number of women in executive teams, while taking into account all other important diversity parameters.

Gender diversity 2013 2012
Share of women, % 17 17
Share of women, presidents and other senior executives; % 19 20*
*The data originally reported in 2012 did not include Volvo Penta executives.

At the end of 2013, women accounted for 17 percent of the Volvo Group’s global workforce, unchanged from 2012. The share of women in senior executive positions slightly decreased.

The Volvo Group believes that one way of overcoming the industry’s gender imbalance is to focus on diversity at the recruitment stage. Group policy requires all white-collar positions to be openly posted for at least ten business days – to prevent recruitment through exclusive networks – and at least one woman and one man to sit on each recruitment panel.

Battle of the Numbers

The Battle of the Numbers program – a unique project to get more women into operative management positions – delivered its proposals and conclusions in 2013. The Volvo Group was one of 10 large companies headquartered in Sweden to take part. Ten women from each company joined forces to study how organizations should work to attract, develop and retain more female talent in decision-making roles.

The Volvo Group team held workshops and meetings with the CEO and Group Executive Team (GET) members during the year. Among various plans put forward to the GET, the Volvo Group’s team recommended integrating a Female Talent Review in the current Talent Review process. The specific focus will be carried out at all management levels, including the top talent review conducted by the GET.

Leadership forums

In October 2013, the Volvo Group organized the Female Leader Forum with two of our strategic academic partners in China – Tongji University and Tsinghua University. Four senior female leaders from different Volvo Group divisions and businesses were invited to events in Beijing and Shanghai to share their experiences with female engineering students. They told packed auditoriums about their challenges; their personal journeys of learning and growth; how they leverage their own strengths and how they balance a successful career with marriage and a family.