Report: Managers' views on inclusion and diversity

For the second year in a row Novus has conducted a survey on behalf of Mitt Liv with the aim of finding out how many companies are actively working with diversity and inclusion, understand their driving forces and challenges and what tools they need to open up to more talents and perspectives. The answers come from 555 managers in the private, non-profit and public sector, in companies and organisations with more than 25 employees. The survey was conducted between 23-30 November 2022.

Swedish companies are increasing the pace of diversity work – but are hindered by common paradox

This year's survey shows that a larger number of Sweden's management teams are actively working to increase diversity in their companies. But a paradox creates an obstacle in the work for continued development, as managers want to attract talent from different backgrounds, but at the same time often find it difficult to identify competence different from their own.

A majority is working actively

Three out of four leaders (76%) state that their own organisations are actively working to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The number has gone up from last year's 71%: a slight increase, which, however, indicates that the cause is moving in the right direction. In the public sector the number is 83%, and in companies or organizations with 1000 employees or more, the number is also higher. A whopping 85% believe that increasing diversity and inclusion is part of their managerial responsibility.

It's clear that the issue is given increasing weight in companies, as almost half (46%) respond that top management works actively for increased inclusion and diversity. This is a significant increase since last year's poll (39%). However, still only half (53%) of the organisations surveyed have a strategy to increase diversity and inclusion, and only a third (34%) have set concrete goals, which are two key aspects for driving change.


The hindering paradox

When the managers are asked what they think is the most important reason to work with diversity and inclusion, the number one answer is to be able to attract and retain talent. Second on the list is the perception that the company takes social responsibility, third is an increased well-being at an individual level in the organisation, and number four is that diversity reflects the company's market and customers.

But here hides a paradox. While the strongest reason is to bring more talent into the workforce, leaders say that the biggest obstacle to more active work with inclusion and diversity is that people who would contribute to increased diversity lack the right skills for the organisation (35%).

"This suggests an overly narrow view of what the competence should look like. Ingrained beliefs often lead to a bias in recruitment: we go by gut feeling, look for the familiar, and recruit those who are similar to ourselves. At the same time, education and experiences that are perceived as unknown or different from our own are overlooked, but would add new and important perspectives to the organisation", says Lenka Prokopec Karlberg, CEO of Mitt Liv.

A selection of the results


Just over half state that the company/organisation has a strategy to increase inclusion and diversity in the workplace.


Just over a third state that there are goals for how the company/organisation should increase inclusion and diversity in the workplace.


Three out of four feel that their company/organization is actively working to increase inclusion and diversity in the workplace.


Three out of four believe that it's important that the company/organisation actively works for increased inclusion and diversity.


Almost five out of ten respond that the top management within the company/organisation works actively with increased inclusion and diversity, a significant increase since the last survey (39%).


The majority believe that creating increased inclusion and diversity is part of their managerial responsibility.


Attracting/retaining talent is still the most important reason for working with increased inclusion and diversity.


The biggest obstacle to not working more actively with inclusion and diversity is that people who would contribute to this lack the right skills.

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