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Vodafone announces new targets to increase ethnic diversity

9 Dec 2021Empowering People
5 minute read

Vodafone today announced new ethnic diversity targets to ensure that by 2030, 25% of the company’s global senior leadership – the most senior 160 leaders across Vodafone’s markets in Europe and Africa – will come from ethnically diverse backgrounds. Based on self-declaration, currently 18% of Vodafone’s global senior leadership team are from ethnically diverse backgrounds.[1]

Vodafone also confirmed that by 2025, 20% of its UK-based senior people will come from Black, Asian, or other diverse ethnicities, with 4% of those to be Black. Vodafone’s UK-based senior management and leadership are currently 16% Black, Asian or other diverse ethnicities, of which 1% are Black.

In Africa, Vodacom has made progress in ensuring that leadership teams reflect the countries it operates in. This includes efforts to correct previous imbalances in markets such as South Africa where by 2030, 75% of senior management and leadership will come from ethnically diverse backgrounds. Currently 63% are from ethnically diverse backgrounds.

These commitments build on Vodafone’s Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage (REACH) action plan, a wider programme launched in 2020 to achieve greater workplace inclusion through allyship and anti-racism.

Nick Read, Vodafone Group CEO, said: “Vodafone is committed to ensuring a truly inclusive workplace that reflects the society we support and the customers we serve - where people of all ethnicities and cultures are represented and have the best opportunity to thrive. Our new targets are supported by a wider action and awareness plan that supports anti-racism and allyship in the workplace.”

Leanne Wood, Vodafone Group CHRO, added: “We have worked with every country across Vodafone’s European and African footprint to recognise the complexity of ethnicity and identity and to better understand how we approach anti-racism in each country. As a result, we launched our wider Race, Ethnicity and Cultural Heritage strategy that is focused on removing barriers that are experienced by our colleagues based on ethnicity and culture of our people, supporting the achievement of the targets we’re announcing today.”

Vinod Kumar, CEO Vodafone Business, said: “Creating a workplace and society free from discrimination is an absolute priority for us; a place where people of all ethnicities and cultures can thrive and belong. Our goal to increase representation works towards our aim to represent the societies we serve, this is reflected in our targets and supported by our strategy to enhance the lived experience of our people”

Vodafone’s REACH equality action plan

Vodafone’s REACH equality action plan – part of Vodafone’s Inclusion for All purpose strategy – is focused on achieving progress in six key areas:

1. Embedding Allyship

Vodafone believes that allyship and standing up for others is an important part of being intentionally anti-racist and building a truly inclusive workplace. To encourage employees to build an understanding of allyship, Vodafone has launched internal Withstander programmes across all markets supported by race fluency training and toolkits across all markets. This is backed by new inclusion standards for internal events and communications activities.

2. Leadership

Vodafone’s REACH programme has executive sponsors from Vodafone’s senior leadership.  REACH fluency training for senior leaders has helped develop an understanding of systemic racism in society and anti-racist behaviours to build an inclusive environment.

3. Voice & Visibility

Vodafone’s employee networks are helping to ensure that people from all ethnic and cultural backgrounds are represented, visible and have a strong voice at Vodafone. In 2020, Vodafone launched a cross-company mentoring programme focused on multicultural inclusion and supporting ethnic diversity. In 2021, Vodafone launched a reciprocal mentoring programme to ensure mentees from ethnically diverse backgrounds receive career mentorship and support.

4. Attraction, retention and thriving

To ensure Vodafone can attract and retain talent from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, Vodafone is building on inclusive practices in employee experience, including recruitment, early career programmes, career development and wellbeing.

5. Engaging Customers & Communities

Vodafone’s commitment to Inclusion for All in the workplace extends to the customers and communities Vodafone serves. Vodafone has led the creation of Change The Face – a pan-industry campaign encouraging the technology sector to increase employee diversity. Vodafone applies a 20% weighting for social and environmental criteria when suppliers tender for new work, including examining whether they have diversity and inclusion policies in place.

Vodafone is the largest European telecoms operator to have signed up to the EU Diversity Charter, which includes the EU Anti-Racism Charter, signalling Vodafone’s commitment to anti-racism across the company’s European footprint to customers and communities.

6. Measuring impact

To better understand representation and target diversity and inclusion programmes more effectively, Vodafone launched an internal campaign called #CountMeIn in November 2020 that encourages employees to voluntarily self-declare diversity demographics. These include ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity and caring responsibilities, in line with local privacy and legal requirements. The data from #CountMeIn has formed the basis for Vodafone’s new Ethnic Diversity targets.

Inclusion for All

Inclusion for All is one of Vodafone’s Purpose pillars, and seeks to ensure that our colleagues, customers, and communities play an equal and active role in our digital future. It focuses on access to connectivity, digital skills and creating relevant products and services, such as access to education, healthcare, and finance. Vodafone is also committed to developing a diverse and inclusive global workforce that reflects the customers and societies it serves.

Vodafone is passionate about making the world more connected, inclusive, and sustainable, and committed to creating a place where everyone can truly be themselves and belong.


[1] Correct as at 01 December 2021, excludes data from Egypt.

  • Future of work
  • Empowering People
  • Workplace equality

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