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Zalando publishes first diversity and inclusion report

By Huw Hughes

Nov. 17, 2020

Zalando has published its first annual diversity and inclusion (D&I) report, ‘do.Better’, revealing the progress it’s made in that area and outlining further targets moving forward.

Last year, the German e-tail giant announced a target to have a balanced representation of women and men across its top six management levels, including the management board and the supervisory board, by the end of 2023.

On Tuesday the retailer revealed it has already achieved that target in its supervisory board, which now comprises 56 percent women. The company said it has made “significant progress” at the senior vice president level - where representation of women has almost doubled from last year to 30 percent - while the vice president cohort now consists of 22 percent women.

Zalando acknowledged that its management board has the lowest diversity, where currently no women are represented.

The retailer said that gender diversity in tech teams is a “particularly important challenge”, with women currently making up just 17 percent of its tech workforce - in line with the average share of women in tech roles in Germany.

To tackle this imbalance, the company said it is investing five million euros in dedicated initiatives to attract, develop and retain more women in tech roles, and is extending its target to achieve a balanced gender share of 40-60 percent by 2023 to its tech teams.

The 2020 do.Better report also revealed the gender pay gap for men and women working in comparable roles at Zalando is just 1 percent compared to Germany’s average of 6 percent. The company said this is thanks to a “clearly structured compensation promise towards our employees”.

However, when comparing women and men independent of their roles, the wage gap at Zalando is 22 percent, compared to 21 percent for all of Germany. The retailer said this is largely due to the fact it currently employs more men than women in senior positions and tech jobs, which have higher wages.

The retailer said it has also made progress in terms of making its platform more inclusive through the launch of several D&I initiatives. That includes working with a diverse group of models who better represent the company’s customers; introducing more skin tones to the beauty category; and partnering with more brands that are owned by members of minority groups. The retailer said its goal is to onboard at least 70 Black-owned brands by 2022.

“We strive to foster a diverse and inclusive company culture because we are convinced that it will make us a more successful business in the long term. However, investing in diversity and inclusion is more than just a business strategy for us. It is simply the right thing to do,” Zalando co-CEO Rubin Ritter said in a statement.

“It is our vision to become the Starting Point for Fashion in Europe, and we want to include everyone on that journey. Transformation takes time. We are still at the beginning but our progress indicates that we are moving in the right direction.”

Photo credit: Zalando