[Cegos Survey] 63% of employees say they have experienced discrimination in their working life


The Cegos Group, an international leader in Learning and Development, today released the results of its international survey entitled Diversity and inclusion in organisations: the skills-related challenges of a cultural transformation.

This survey polled 4,007 employees (of which 1,003 in France) and 420 HR Directors and Managers / (HRDs/HRMs) all working in private- and public-sector organisations employing fifty employees or more, in seven countries in Europe (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Great Britain, Portugal ) and Latin America (Brazil).



  • 82% of employees claim to have witnessed at least one form of discrimination.
  • 63% of employees claim to have experienced at least one form of discrimination.
  • These acts of discrimination are perpetrated first by colleagues and then by direct managers (line managers),
  • The most willing stakeholders in the fight against discrimination: colleagues and direct managers according to employees vs. members of the HR team according to HRDs/HRMs.
  • The movements to free speech against sexism and racism have had a positive impact... but there is still plenty of room for improvement
  • Diversity-related conflicts within organisations are generally resolved by the HR department.

Annette Chazoule, "Management and Change" Product Range Manager, Cegos Group, explains:

"Discrimination remains at a very high level, and all the stakeholders, whether employees or HRDs/HRMs, note this in all the countries surveyed. This is all the more alarming as many countries, notably France, have enacted targeted legal provisions to combat these issues. These results show once again that companies do not operate in a vacuum, but are affected by the same societal issues that affect society as a whole. In this respect, the positive but still too limited impact of the movements to free speech testifies to the strength of sexist, racist and difference-related stereotypes and prejudices. Fighting discrimination today requires a much more proactive and powerful commitment from company management, particularly in terms of awareness-raising and training."


  • 71% of employees have a clear understanding of what diversity is; 74% have a clear understanding of what inclusion is.
  • 49% of employees see themselves as "promoters" of diversity in their organisation and 11% as "active advocates".
  • 75% of employees and 68% of international HRDs/HRMs believe the corporate structure of their organisation reflects the diversity of society.
  • 65% of employees believe that the diversity policy contributes to the organisation's overall performance.
  • 67% of employees are in favour of the quota policy, as are 65% of HRDs/HRMs.

Isabelle Drouet de la Thibauderie, "Human Resources" Product Range Manager, Cegos Group, explains:

"Even if they say they are convinced of this, HRDs/HRMs are still struggling to get all employees on board with a Diversity and Inclusion approach, especially the older and less educated populations. On the other hand, they can count on a solid base of allies among the younger generations and the managerial line. There is fertile ground to be exploited, especially as employees and HRDs/HRMs agree that the deployment of a Diversity and Inclusion policy has a positive impact on well-being at work and on the collective performance of organisations."


  • 87% of employees say they feel "fully included" in their organisation.
  • A variety of awareness-raising actions are carried out to "shake things up" in organisations.
  • To further inclusion, employees and HRDs/HRMs are primarily interested in levers related to work organisation, recruitment and training.
  • 75% of HRDs/HRMs say they apply non-discrimination in recruitment, from sourcing to integration;
  • If they were to change jobs in the future, 84% of international employees say that taking inclusion issues into account would be an "important" criterion in their choice of a new employer.
  • 34% of managers feel that the actions their organisation has taken (information, training, HR support, etc.) help them "quite a bit" in dealing with sensitive diversity and inclusion issues.
  • 39% of employees and 43% of HRDs/HRMs believe that their direct manager acts as a solid ally in dealing with these issues.

Annette Chazoule, "Management and Change" Product Range Manager, Cegos Group, says:

"The assessment has been made, the levers for action have been identified, the tools exist and the conditions are favourable. In particular, recruitment, awareness-raising and training are clearly identified as key levers for action, but they are not yet sufficiently exploited. Managers, who are already overstretched, have a key role to play in developing the Diversity and Inclusion policy, but it is clear that they are not yet sufficiently supported and equipped to do so. More generally, HR is facing a major challenge for the future: to strengthen their employer brand in order to continue to attract young talent and make the job of manager attractive. In a particularly dynamic job market in certain sectors of activity, this is an essential lever today for filling vacancies."

Benoit Felix, Cegos Group CEO, gives his views on this international barometer survey:

"As an international leader in Learning & Development, we have been able to observe, for several months now, in all the countries where we operate, the same willingness of organisations to take up the challenges of Inclusion and Diversity. Far from being a fad, it is a structural concept and part of a real cultural and societal transformation. We firmly believe that organisations that do not dare or do not know how to grasp these issues will miss out on history, especially if they do not take into account the expectations and demands of the younger generations. Verbalising, raising awareness, training and recruiting: these are the four priority levers for action.

In terms of skills development, we are already deploying numerous missions directly linked to these issues, whether it be training in unconscious perception bias, inclusive leadership or the fight against harassment. We are, for example, rolling out programmes to nurture a new generation of women leaders. These are complex and time-consuming issues. But they are also, and above all, galvanising issues because they force us to change our outlook in order to imagine and build the organisation of tomorrow, which is more diverse, more inclusive and therefore more efficient and responsible."

Have a look at our dedicated press release.