Saab regards gender equality as a very important goal. A business that offers everyone the same opportunities and conditions regardless of gender results in more diversity, which helps the organisation's potential for development and innovation. According to research that has been conducted into this field, companies with greater equality also show greater profitability. The goal is for at least 30 percent of all managers at Saab to be female by the end of 2015. The initiative is called Target 30/70. The work is being implemented through concrete measures and a joint effort throughout the organisation to raise awareness of these issues.
"Another part of the challenge is to recruit more women in general, not just in management positions, thereby expanding the female base. Saab is an engineering company and for many years, the majority of engineering students have been male. But this is changing and at the end of 2013, 38 percent of engineering graduates were female," says Mia Nilsson, Head of Talent Acquisition.
Concrete measures to attract more women
There are many examples of concrete measures being taken by Saab in its efforts to improve equality. For instance, Saab was one of the first companies to accept the invitation to take part in the Battle of the numbers, a project for major companies eager to have more women in management positions. And to highlight female role models in engineering and attract more women onto engineering courses, an annual Female Technician of the Year award has been established, Årets Teknikkvinna. In addition, Saab is working with a number of student organisations and it is involved in the network presided over by the weekly business magazine Veckans Affärer, known as VA Kvinna. Moreover, for the past three years during the party-political convention week in Almedalen, Saab has taken part in seminars focusing on equality.
Skills will be crucial in any recruitment process, but adapting the process can help to increase the catchment area and thereby improve diversity among applicants. Furthermore, when it comes to managerial positions, at least one female candidate must be called for an interview. Equality Promotion must also be taken into account when managers are being assessed and trained. This determination has yielded results and in June 2014, 25.3 percent of all managers at Saab were female compared with 22.1 percent at the start of 2013.
47 females appointed in 2013
By focusing on equality, Saab hopes to set an example for society as a whole, thereby dismantling outdated structures and attitudes to make way for new ones. Progress is being made and last year, 47 women were appointed to wage-determining executive positions at Saab. But despite a clear upward trend, there is still a great deal of work to be done.
"Although the 30/70 target has brought us a long way so far, we must not rest on our laurels and be complacent about what we have achieved. Once we have reached the goal for 30/70, this will by no means be the end. This is an ongoing process that must be continually nurtured and developed," says Mia Nilsson.