The introduction of the target scheme
Since January 1 of this year, large companies are required to set 'appropriate' and 'ambitious' objectives in the form of a target (streefcijfer) in order to achieve a more balanced men-women ratio within the management board, the supervisory board and the company’s sub-top. To this end, large companies must also draw up an action plan (plan van aanpak) and must subsequently report to the SER on their progress. For a detailed explanation of the target scheme, please refer to our previous contributions on this topic of 7 October 2021 and 13 November 2020.
The step-by-step plan (thus far only available in Dutch) is divided into four steps:
Step 1 - Assess the current men-women ratio
In order to set appropriate objectives in the form of a target, the SER recommends companies to first assess the current men-women ratio in the company’s (sub)top. Amongst others, such inventory should include the current number of women and men within the management board, the supervisory board and the company’s sub-top. The inventory should also include the number of (re)appointments and resignations over the past year and the number of women and men who – over the past year – have joined and left the management board, supervisory board and the company’s sub-top. We note that companies are free to determine what they qualify as their 'sub-top'. In case of doubt about a correct qualification, a further explanation is provided on the website of the SER (see link – unfortunately, thus far, this explanation is only available in Dutch).
Step 2 - Set targets
After completing the inventory discussed above, a company can set appropriate and ambitious targets. Each target should be formulated as a minimum percentage that applies to women and men. For example, a target of 33% for the management board means that a company aims to have at least 33% of the board composed of women and at least 33% of men. Separate targets should be set for the management board, the supervisory board, and the company’s sub-top. In addition to this general target, a target year should be set on the basis of which a company must indicate the timeframe by which it aims to achieve the general target.
Step 3 - Create an action plan
Subsequently, a company should draft an action plan to define how it intends to achieve the set targets. The action plan should be seen as the route from the company’s current situation (step 1) to the company’s desired objectives (step 2). In the action plan, a company can indicate for various subjects and on various organisational levels which activities the company will undertake to achieve the set objectives. Please note that the SER has published some examples on its website for inspiration (see link).
Step 4 - Report through the SER Diversity Portal
Large companies must report to the SER on an annual basis on the following topics:
- the factual status of the men-women ratio;
- the company’s objectives set out in concrete targets;
- the company’s action plan to achieve these objectives; and
- if possible, the reasons why one or more objectives have not (yet) been achieved.
Once a year, the SER publishes the objectives set by companies in the form of targets on a publicly available website. The SER also publishes the chosen measures and the objectives that were actually achieved by the companies. The rationale behind this annual publication is that companies can learn from each other about what does (and does not) work to achieve more diversity at the top and sub top level.
As of mid-2022, companies will be able to carry out their reporting obligation (for the financial year 2021) by submitting their input via the SER's Diversity Portal. We will continue to closely monitor the developments regarding the target scheme. If you have any questions about the target scheme and/or the reporting obligation, the specialists of the Employment & Benefits Team would be glad to provide you with further advice.