Following the publication on 6th February 2020 of a study commissioned by the French Ministry of Territorial and Urban Cohesion, Sopra Steria was named, along with 6 other companies, for presumed discrimination in hiring practices.
Sopra Steria formally refutes the methodology and conclusions of this study, which are profoundly contrary to the company's values, as well as the initiatives and commitments it has been carrying out for many years in favour of equal opportunities.
Furthermore, the Group's nearly 20,000 employees in France received the following communication from the company's management on 7th February 2020.
Following the publication of the findings of a study commissioned by the Ministry of Territorial Cohesion, Sopra Steria has been names, along with six other companies, for presumed discrimination in hiring practices.
The study targeted 40 companies included in the SBF 120 index.
As far as Sopra Steria is concerned, the survey related exclusively to receptionist and maintenance technician (facilities) positions. Given that Sopra Steria does not usually recruit these types of positions, the survey could not be based on responses to job offers published by the company; it could only seek to elicit responses to speculative applications.
Speculative applications were addressed to various individuals within our company whose names and positions have not been disclosed to us; they could have been operational or support staff. They were contacted directly, in the Paris region and at a number of our other regional sites, outside of our usual recruitment process.
Two criteria were tested: name and place of residence. For each criterion, a pair of identical CVs was submitted:
- For the first criterion, one applicant had a surname of North African origin and the other a surname of French origin,
- For the second criterion, one applicant lived in a “neutral” neighbourhood and the other lived in a “priority neighbourhood” under the government’s urban policy.
Sopra Steria is not suspected of any kind of discrimination as regards place of residence.
As regards applicants’ names, 86 pairs of applications were submitted:
- In 65 cases, no response was given.
- In 10 cases, the same response was provided to both applicants.
- In 11 cases, each applicant received a different response: in 3 of these cases, only the applicant with a surname of French origin received a negative response, while in the other 8 cases, only the applicant with the surname of North African origin received a negative response.
In light of the above, we wish to express our profound disagreement with the conclusions of this survey, which was based on a questionable methodology whose limits the commissioning Ministry has itself recognised. No general conclusion can be drawn from this study, whose reliability we question.
Discrimination has no place in our history, our values or our commitment to equal opportunities. Our workforce in France is drawn from over 80 different nationalities. Furthermore, according to the internal “Great Place to Work” survey conducted in 2019, more than 89% of you think our employees are treated fairly irrespective of ethnic origin or religion.
Please be assured that, alongside you, we will remain resolutely committed to diversity as we pursue our plans for the future and seek to fully play our part as a responsible corporate citizen.
Pierre Pasquier, Chairman - Vincent Paris, CEO