Reaching 30% of females in leadership positions by December 2020


For Telefónica, diversity makes us stronger and more competitive. Diversity is a necessary part of the strategic agenda.

What did you want to achieve?

At Telefónica, we aim to achieve 30% of females in leadership positions by December 2020. We set the objective in all countries and business areas. We ensure leadership commitment by setting targets, tracking KPI progress and supporting the goal with other initiatives that lead towards a more diverse workplace.

What did you do?

In July 2018, we created a Transparency Commission to ensure our commitment spans our organisation. We present all executive appointment proposals to the Commission, to be approved by our Chairman and some Executive Committee members.

Our objective is to provide transparency and to open all executive vacancies to all employees. We want to ensure women are on the shortlists and interviewers panels. We also want to increase the knowledge and visibility of our pre-executive female talent pool to the top management and local committees.

Our actions include:

  • A Diversity and Transparency Dashboard to measure KPIs’progress
  • Monthly approval and share evolution at Executive Committee and business review meetings to support and inform critical decision making and actions
  • An online tool, rather than face-to-face meetings, with ‘one-click approval’.

The members of the Transparency Commission receive all details of open executive vacancies, candidates, interviewers panels, shortlists and final candidate proposals. The file includes the percentage of gender diversity in each area and the evolution in the last months and years.

Other initiatives carried out to achieve this goal include:

  • Launch a “Women in Leadership” development program for our female executives and pre-executives.
  • Develop unconscious bias training for all board members and senior leaders.
  • Share the executive vacancies on our internal SuccessFactors platform.
  • Communicate the executive vacancies to our pre-executive female talent pool, which includes more than 500 women pre-identified in talent review meetings.
  • Increase the visibility of the pre-executive female talent pool across all countries.
  • Develop a catalogue of good practices for job descriptions, which must be written in an inclusive language.

What are the results so far?

In the last 4 years, the number of female executives has increased by 5.4 percentage points (p.p.). 

Since the creation of the Transparency Commission (2 years ago): 

  • The percentage of open and published executive vacancies has increased by 22 p.p. 
  • The executive vacancies covered by women have increased by 6 p.p. 

Additionally, we have increased the visibility of our female talent pool among senior leaders.

What have you learned?

We learned that we should track diversity KPIs in the same way as we track other business KPIs. We also learned how regularly sharing improvements and results across countries helps people see that increase is possible.

Along our journey, we have also learned that engaging managers and employees – in addition to senior leaders – is important. We must encourage them to play a more active role in driving diversity decisions.