Leadership as a Field of Action in the Diversity Strategy (Paul Scherrer Institute)

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Issues and Targets
The aim is to reduce the so-called “leaky pipeline” of women in the research institute. The “Leaky Pipeline” shows the following picture with “Time Lag” (i.e. taking into account a time interval of 10 years between PhD and management position to complete the various career stages):

Proportion of women among the

  • PhD students 2007: 26%
  • Postdocs 2010: 20%
  • Scientists 2013: 14%
  • Management positions 2017: 12%.

Total number of employees 2017: 2100

Description of Offer/ Action
In order to reduce the “leaky pipeline”, the field of action “leadership” was defined within the Diversity Strategy 2017-2020. It is based on four fields of action: Recruiting, Securing, Promoting and Cultural Measures.

Field of action “Recruiting”:
The aim is to invite at least one woman to an interview when filling publicly advertised management positions. Within the “Smart Staffing – hinder bias” project, the recruitment process is reviewed at the institute and further improved in accordance with OTM-R standards (open, transparent and merit-based recruitment processes). The Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) is committed to the principles of the European initiative HRS4R “Human Resources Strategy for Researchers”. The target of inviting at least one woman to the interview was achieved in 75% of cases according to initial surveys. A detailed diversity-specific survey on the recruitment of junior staff and managers is currently underway. This should provide a more detailed picture of where, when and why exactly women are “lost”.

Field of action „Securing“:
Within the management training “CAS Leadership in Science” a module on diversity and equal opportunities comprising 4 lessons was implemented. The module is mandatory for all new managers at PSI. It is also planned to introduce a “Refresher Module on Diversity” for long-term executives.

Field of action „Promoting“:
Mentoring program for women with leadership ambitions: The mentoring program offers one-to-one mentoring with an experienced leader. In addition, a job-related personality description (BIP®) and a supporting program with workshops on topics such as leadership competence, conflict management, etc. and networking lunches are offered. In the first round of the program, 9 mentees out of 20 applications were accepted into the program.
Transferable Skills Program: A Transferable Skills Programme within the PSI Training Centre has been set up to provide cross-disciplinary skills. The programme is constantly being expanded.
CONNECT project: The cooperation project with various other higher education institutions and partners from industry aims to bring the careers of women in the academy into closer exchange with the careers of women in industry. The project has been under construction since September 2018.

Field of action „Cultural Measures“:
The PSI Diversity Award for executives rewards managers who proactively promote equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion as well as the compatibility of work and other areas of life. One or more employees or the entire team makes nominations. In the first call for entries in 2018, 20 managers were nominated; the HR Manager will hold the first award ceremony in January 2019 at the annual New Year information for employees, to which the entire workforce is invited. This results in a high level of visibility. The award winners will also be involved in management training in the sense of “learn from the best”.

Implementation Approach
The measures were introduced mainly within the framework of the Equal Opportunities Action Plan, which is co-financed by project-related contributions from swissuniversities (P-7 equal opportunities and university development). The objectives and various measures were communicated within the institute by the management.

Formal Requirements
Development of the strategy and implementation of the measures by the Equal Opportunities Committee, the diversity officer, project managers and various HR, staff and other employees.

Results and Modes of Action
For the number of applications or nominations for the various programmes see above. The proportion of women in management positions was increased again in 2018. As at 31.12.2018 it was 15% (compared with 12% on 31.12.2017). How the measures will work in the longer term will become apparent in the coming years.

Success Criteria and possible Obstacles
It is important to support the topic at the highest level and to sensitize the lower and middle management to diversity-specific topics, since the latter are very different in terms of openness. Addressing the topic of diversity management in a research institution within the framework of leadership competence and innovation has proven its worth.

This Offer is Part of the Category
Gender-Sensitive Organizational Culture
Recruitment of Young Talents