The keyword in workplaces is “Inclusion”: Simonetta Iarlori talks about Leonardo’s commitment and progresses

17 June 2021

A regulatory measure to facilitate female inclusion in companies through specific investments by businesses. This is the proposal put forward by Leonardo’s Chief People, Organization and Transformation Officer Simonetta Iarlori at the first digital ‘open event’ on gender diversity in Italy, “The future women (and men) want”, organised by Women at Bain - Bain & Company. “Adequate regulations might very much help companies to invest in diversity and inclusion more appropriately,” Iarlori explained. Leonardo, where the number of male employees has historically been greater than that of female employees, in line with the sector it belongs to - the Aerospace, Defence and Security industry - is strongly committed to this movement. And moreover, it is recording important signs of change. “There has been a reversal of trend in recent years. The gap has certainly not been filled, but the growth of female employees in our industry was significant last year,” Leonardo’s Chief People, Organization and Transformation Officer emphasised. “In fact, in 2020 we recruited 3,200 people in Italy, 23% of whom are women. Over 3,000 people recruited is already a socially important figure, but what is even more outstanding is the fact that 23% are female recruitments. It is still a limited percentage, but it is growing, also due to in-house training,” Iarlori remarked.

The identified tool - training - is based on a recruit. “The programmes that we are pushing forward at Leonardo are not inspired by the word ‘diversity’ as much as rather the word ‘inclusion’. That is because I believe that in this very ‘social’ and ‘digital’ period there is an exasperated individualism and that the world instead needs greater collaboration and a higher social sense,” Iarlori clarified. This is the reason why Leonardo is adopting “many training programmes for the purpose of including all the people and of decreasing all forms of diversity, including that of gender,” the Chief People, Organization and Transformation Officer continued. Ultimately, “our chief concern is the engagement of people in the work environment.” It is not by chance that “our managers follow a great many training courses, also remotely, to learn to involve collaborators in the corporate processes, and in particular the women, but not only.” The keyword in short is ‘care’, take interest, pay attention. It is a movement in which precisely the female component stands out above the male component. “Women have an innate sense of taking care of people,” Iarlori said, and it is therefore not by chance that “many women have risen to managerial positions, probably precisely because today this aspect counts much more.”

The year of Covid-19, 2020, was an important testing ground. “The pandemic clearly negatively marked the destiny of women, because it is obvious that they were under more pressure when everyone was forced to stay at home. It was hard also for the men, but it was certainly more so for the women with remote education and their children. We activated all the tools to be able to work from home and we followed all the instructions arising from the various decrees to make all possible forms of support available to colleagues, such as flexibility in working hours, in such a way as to allow the women to take part in the working life and not be relegated to just a housewife role,” Iarlori added. And, again in 2020, “when it was possible to organise and discipline presence in the company, we engaged our managers to ensure a balanced presence and to encourage the rotation and integration of everyone, especially the women.”

According to a study by Bain on diversity in the workplaces presented at the “The future women (and men) want” event, gender equality in the workplace in Italy still remains a far-off objective. With evident damage from the social and economic viewpoint. In fact, it is calculated that the participation of women in the workplace has a potential for the country of between Euro 50 and 150 billion in terms of GDP. Based on the survey - carried out by interviewing the front-line staffs of over 40 companies that employ a total of more than 350,000 people in Italy alone - career opportunities and wages for women are still lower than those of men. On average, only one CEO out of ten is a woman within listed companies. The situation is not much different in politics: only three out of ten ministers and members of Parliament are women. Of those companies examined, 65% of the employees are men and the remaining 35% are women. The average pay gap in Italy in the private sector is 21%, one of the highest values in Europe. This figure rises further as the career path moves forward.