Press Release: IMF Executive Board Discusses 2014 Report on Diversity and Inclusion

December 8, 2014

Press Release No. 14/556
December 8, 2014

On November 19, 2014, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) discussed the 2014 Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report.

The annual report is prepared by the IMF’s Diversity Office in consultation with the Diversity Council. The Diversity Council is a Fund-wide representative body that provides guidance to management, department heads, and departmental Diversity Reference Groups on diversity-related matters. The report is published annually on the Fund’s external website, and provides an accounting of the institution’s efforts to promote a more diverse and inclusive working environment for all employees.

Executive Board Assessment1

Executive Directors appreciated the opportunity to discuss the FY 2014 Diversity and Inclusion Annual Report. They acknowledged that important steps have been taken in the Fund in recent years to improve diversity and inclusion, which are crucial for the effectiveness of the institution. Directors noted, however, that progress has been uneven and in some instances slow and more needs to be done to achieve a more balanced representation of the staff reflecting the Fund’s broad membership.

Directors welcomed improvement in the representation of women in managerial grades and in the share of staff from some underrepresented regions. They were disappointed, however, that eight of the eleven quantitative benchmarks have not been met by the target date of 2014. Many Directors called for further analysis and a deeper discussion of the factors constraining progress towards these targets. A few Directors suggested that a panel of external experts be tasked to look into this issue.

Directors considered the new 2020 benchmarks proposed by the Diversity Working Group, and welcomed the strategic focus of these benchmarks. A number of Directors felt that the new benchmarks were not sufficiently ambitious to raise staff representation from underrepresented regions, especially at managerial levels. Directors agreed that particular attention should be given to the areas where progress has been slow and, in this regard, adding recruitment benchmarks for Africa and the Middle East is a step in the right direction. A number of Directors stressed the need to consider intraregional diversity, as many member countries, in particular small countries, are underrepresented regardless of the region they belong to. A few Directors, while noting the good progress made in Transition Economies in recent years, would have preferred to retain the diversity benchmarks for these countries going forward, especially at managerial levels, where progress has been limited. Directors generally appreciated the information on secondary nationalities and agreed that it should continue to be reported.

Directors considered that, while regional and gender diversity remain the primary focus, other aspects of diversity, particularly education, are also important. They welcomed the steady increase of Economist Program appointments with advanced academic degrees from universities outside the United States and the United Kingdom, but noted that the educational profile of Fund staff as a whole has not changed markedly in the past few years, with most staff having received their education in either of those two countries. While recognizing that more than three-quarters of Fund staff holding advanced academic degrees from U.S. universities are nationals of other countries, many Directors encouraged further efforts to diversify recruitment and outreach beyond major U.S. campuses. A few Directors recommended that these efforts be supported by the establishment of benchmarks on educational diversity. Some Directors felt that other dimensions of diversity, including language skills relevant for the Fund’s work, cultural backgrounds, and a consistent use of flexible work arrangements and incentives to help young families, should also be considered.

Directors emphasized the importance of a concrete action plan to achieve the new benchmarks by 2020. They welcomed the appointment of the new Diversity Advisor and the consideration by the Diversity Council of all the other recommendations put forward by the Diversity Working Group. Directors welcomed the proposal to strengthen institutional oversight for mid-career hiring and stressed the importance of management’s involvement. They considered that the institutional panel to oversee conversion decisions under the new Categories of Employment framework would be helpful in this context. Directors highlighted the need for greater focus on career progression and retention of staff from underrepresented regions. A few Directors recommended setting up intermediate diversity targets and mid-year progress reports.

Directors acknowledged the steps being taken to implement the Inclusion Action Plan and encouraged further efforts to create a more inclusive work environment where all voices and views can be heard. In this context, many Directors underscored the importance of building on the progress made thus far to further improve the managerial and cultural environment and give all staff equal opportunities to contribute and grow. A few Directors suggested shifting the staff survey to an annual frequency to track more closely staff perceptions.

Directors agreed that the Fund’s diversity and inclusion efforts should be fully integrated into HR policies and practices and that the Diversity Scorecard and the accountability framework for senior managers, Department Heads in particular, should help achieve the diversity and inclusion objectives, with some Directors calling for even stronger accountability. Directors encouraged taking advantage of the opportunity provided by the on-going leadership development initiative to further support the diversity and inclusion strategy.

1 At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country's authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here:


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