Diversity in digital professions: a priority for BNP Paribas

Since the creation of its “Diversity” department in 2004, BNP Paribas has made a very concrete commitment, year after year, to diversity and equal opportunities. This is a global issue, but it takes on a particular dimension in certain professions: this is especially the case for the digital sector. During the 2022 edition of VivaTech, the Group announced new commitments alongside associations and reinforced gender parity targets in its IT sector, as part of our drive to actively promote diversity.

Equal opportunities from childhood

For Caroline Courtin, Head of Diversity, Equality and Inclusion at BNP Paribas, it is clear that if women are to be recruited into the digital professions, they must be given access to this sector and digital vocations need to be encouraged. And this has to start very early. “We’ve decided to act from an early age to facilitate access by girls and women to these careers. This increases equal opportunities and the representation of women in society as a whole, and also creates a talent pool for our future recruitment!” she explains. This is confirmed by Mira Oussaidene, a Masters student and web developer on a work-study contract at BNP Paribas Personal Finance: “We grow up with this belief that technical jobs are only for men, but this is an idea that is gradually being deconstructed.”


Gender diversity and equal opportunities in the IT sector of BNP Paribas

In order to help deconstruct this preconceived idea, BNP Paribas is now focusing its efforts on two complementary fronts, following several years of involvement in the UN’s HeForShe programme and its “Never Without Her” commitments. To make an impact today, the Group is hiring more women in IT and digital roles. In order to enable girls and women to discover these professions and to take up a digital career, we support associations working in the sector, for greater diversity and social mixing. 

The IT sector has therefore set itself simple and quantified goals: to achieve gender equity in the pool of “emerging talents” (future top managers) from this year and to increase the proportion of women among its interns and work-study contracts from 33% to 50% by the end of 2024. In addition to these two specific IT goals, the Group as a whole has set itself other targets, including having 40% female senior managers by the end of 2024. To achieve these targets, BNP Paribas will recruit more than 1,000 women in this department by then. This will give them access to the cross-functional “Women in IT” awareness, training and retention programme, which was launched in 2020. But if women are to be able to push the door open, they need to have the keys: “Our action along the entire chain is now accelerating thanks to the work we have started with schools, associations and the entire Tech ecosystem,” explains Caroline Courtin.


All of our IT, Tech & Data job opportunities

€1.1m for associations that recode digital

Action is therefore needed at several levels. With the support of its Foundation, BNP Paribas is committed to providing financial assistance of €1.1m over three years to associations working to promote gender equality in the digital sector. Through its “1MillionHours2Help” volunteering programme – which enables employees to help associations during their working hours – the Group also encourages mentoring or interventions in classes, from primary to higher education, in order to promote transmission and to pass on the baton.

For Sandrine Delage, Head of Change Makers & Prospective at BNP Paribas and co-founder with her daughter Noémie of the 2.0 Mother&Daughter blog in 2013, this notion of transmission from adults to young people is central: “Intergenerationality is the lever of the ‘Women & Girls In Tech’ events, with multi-company and association contributions, to create the trigger that can change everything. Girls are involved in the creation and facilitation of the programme. Their presence creates a different link that will help each generation to look past stereotypes and better understand the digital professions”.


Thanks to the people Delage has been able to meet and her intergenerational experience, “Women & Girls in Tech” collective was created at her initiative with the support of BNP Paribas as well as with Simplon, Digital Ladies & Allies and BECOMTECH. For the 2022 edition of VivaTech, “Women & Girls in Tech” is offering a great programme: networking sessions, mentoring, job discovery, fun experiences and a speech by Rim Tehraoui, Group Chief Data Officer of BNP Paribas.

VivaTech 2022 Panel

A question of equality and efficiency

While social equality issues are absolutely essential, they are also a real efficiency challenge for companies. Whatever the sector, offering products and services designed only by men can have consequences that range from the problematic (meeting only a limited audience) to the dramatic (security measures designed only for men, for example). BNP Paribas is also tackling gender bias in order to offer all its customers products that meet their specific needs, by carrying out all these actions – and many others within its various entities – to promote the technological inclusion of women. Actions that work: in 2022, the start-up 50inTech gave the Group a score of 83/100 for its progress in terms of inclusion, equality and diversity, and the impact of its actions to promote the integration of women in the digital field. So, equality versus bias? 

Mira Oussaidene responds: “I think that women have their place in the tech industry. We have a different vision to contribute and I am proud to be part of those women who are driving change in the business.”

83/100

Score 50inTech gave BNP Paribas in 2022

for its progress in terms of inclusion, equality and diversity, and the impact of its actions to promote the integration of women in the digital field. 

Some key dates for the Group’s commitments in favour of gender equity since 2004

2021
2020

New agreement on Diversity and Inclusion

2018
  • Launch of the Agrifed programme alongside UN Women, to strengthen food security through women’s entrepreneurship in Senegal
  • Jean-Laurent Bonnafé “thematic champion” of the UN movement HeForShe
2014
Signature of the European agreement on professional equality between women and men
2011
Signature of the Women’s Empowerment Principles
2004
Creation of the “Diversity” department of BNP Paribas and signature of its first agreement on professional equality

Photo credits: Céline Levain, Céline Pernot-Burlet

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