Businesses look to increase diversity among employees


Two programmes launched by Unizo and Voka are guiding employers who want to increase the diversity of their workforce, with more than 1,000 expressing an interest in support

Starting point

More than 1,000 small businesses have expressed an interest in increasing diversity in the workforce, and 200 have taken steps to begin to make changes since the launch of two programmes in October.

Jobstap by Unizo and Welt by the Flemish chamber of commerce Voka are supported by the Flemish government and aim to help companies hire staff regardless of qualifications, age, gender, ethnicity and possible disabilities.

“This government is investing heavily in initiatives that give everyone the chance to be brought into the jobs market,” Philippe Muyters, the Flemish labour minister, said. “For our Focus on Talent programme we found €14 million, to be divided among programmes supported by unions and by employers’ organisations Unizo and Voka.”

The money, he stressed, is given out in return for concrete results in the field. “The more people we put to work, regardless of their background, the better it is for our economy and our well-being,” he said, adding that the promising results from the two diversity programmes show the value of the investment.

“The resources made available by the Flemish government for diversity are extremely important,” said Karel Van Eetvelt, director-general of Unizo. “Not because our business people would not otherwise be open to diversity on the workfloor – that openness grows with every day that another vacancy remains unfilled. But because they don’t know where and how to begin.”

Unizo’s programme involves one-to-one sessions with employers to guide them. Between January and May this year the organisation carried out more than 1,200 sessions. At Voka, the Welt programme has seen 72 businesses complete a diversity training course, with 234 more signed up. Altogether, the businesses concerned have more than 500 vacancies to fill.

Photo: Ingimage