Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Accelerating diversity, equity and inclusion outcomes with business leadership

Davos 2023 ; The diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives all had significant, quantifiable, scalable and sustainable impact.d

The diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives all had significant, quantifiable, scalable and sustainable impact. Image: Pexels/Anna Shvets

Stephanie Madner
Associate Partner and Leader, People & Organizational Performance Practice, McKinsey & Company
Fernando Alonso Perez-Chao
Action Lead, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice, World Economic Forum Geneva
Elisabeth Pipic
Specialist, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice, World Economic Forum Geneva
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Have you read?
  • Global Gender Gap Report 2023
  • Recent years have seen significant new momentum from the private sector to create more equitable and inclusive organizations, with a growing number of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts showing positive impact.
  • Beyond the moral case, DEI continues to be a competitive advantage, with evidence suggesting that organizations with strong equity and inclusion programmes are more resilient and adaptable in times of crises.
  • In the current context, the corporate sector needs a pragmatic approach to create more inclusive organizations based on practices with proven track records.

The Lighthouse Programme is an annual effort of the World Economic Forum to surface, highlight and scale impactful diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. The programme is designed to pragmatically identify proven, effective DEI initiatives from companies across industries and geographies and to share key lessons learned with business and public sector leaders around the world. The aim is to equip leaders with insights and tools to help focus DEI efforts on what works best, and ultimately contribute to faster, scalable DEI impact.

The eight DEI Lighthouse cases below were featured in the 2023 DEI Lighthouses report and were selected by an independent expert panel for their demonstrated impact and ability to inspire others. They are:

Davos 2023 - Snapshot of 2023 DEI Lighthouse cases ; diversity equity and inclusion
Snapshot of 2023 DEI Lighthouse cases. Image: World Economic Forum

Eight impactful DEI Lighthouse cases


Launched in 2016, the Global EY Organization’s (EY) Neuro-Diverse Centres of Excellence (NCoEs) employ neurodivergent individuals and facilitate inclusive hiring, training, onboarding and development practices for neurodivergent individuals through upskilling and process redesign.

EY recognized that despite often having exceptional skills in high demand fields, neurodivergent individuals – individuals with dyslexia, autism, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other inherent cognitive differences – faced significant employment challenges in the labour market.

NCoEs helped EY meet their growing talent needs by hiring neurodivergent individuals with the aptitude, acumen and interest for solving complex issues through data and emerging technologies, all while creating career opportunities for a group of individuals who are typically underemployed.


Launched in 2015, Limak’s flagship Engineer Girls of Turkey (EGT) project encourages female university students in Turkey to pursue a career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), with a focus on engineering.

The company launched a similar project in Kuwait in 2017 and a year later, Limak expanded its efforts in Turkey with additional training programmes for high-school students.

These initiatives were designed and delivered in partnership with local schools, governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and offered scholarships, upskilling, mentorship and employment opportunities.


PwC UK has a five-year plan to help advance social mobility in the United Kingdom through external programmes focused on community development, upskilling and advocacy, and internal programmes focused on hiring and creating an inclusive work environment.

The initiatives aim to enable more people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds to develop the skills needed to be successful in their career of choice, and to make PwC UK a more inclusive organization where people from all backgrounds can work, develop and succeed.


Launched in 2014, Randstad US’s Hire Hope initiative provides career-readiness training and job-placement services to women survivors of housing insecurity, domestic violence and human trafficking.

Over 35 weeks and three phases – Restore, Grow and Thrive – the programme provides participants with technical and soft-skill training, paid apprenticeships, career transition support and ongoing mentorship with the goal of securing long-term, permanent employment.

The initiative leverages Randstad's core business to create opportunities for underrepresented community members while increasing the talent pipeline diversity for Randstad and its client partners. Hire Hope is also part of Randstad’s broader objective to impact 500 million people worldwide by 2030.

Schneider Electric

Schneider Electric began its gender parity journey in 2014 with a working group sponsored by CEO and country presidents. The group designed the Global Pay Equity (GPE) initiative that was piloted in 12 countries and then was officially launched across 16 countries in 2015.

From 2015 to 2017, the company’s focus was to progressively apply the global approach across its global operations, enabling proactive corrective actions to close gaps.

Then through a global-local compensation framework, supported by robust governance and automated analytics, the GPE initiative had been implemented in all countries since 2018, and reached 99.6% of its total workforce by the end of 2020.

Given the progress made on pay equity, starting in 2021, Schneider Electric made new commitments to further pay equity by setting the goal to attain and maintain a pay gap of <1% for all employees by 2025.


Launched in 2017, Shiseido Japan’s campaign aimed to achieve 40% representation of women in management roles in Japan by 2020, with a multifaceted initiative focused on career advancement for women employees. This was motivated by the Japan office’s lower gender parity relative to the company’s global average.

The initiative’s internal solutions included upskilling and coaching for women employees, anti-bias training for the entire organization and changes to hiring and work policies to address barriers. Shiseido also partnered with leading companies to work towards gender parity in the Japanese business community.

As of 2020, Shiseido achieved 33% representation of women in management roles and in the same year renewed its goal to achieving 40% by 2026, as well as elevating its ambition to 50% by 2030.

Tata Steel

In 2019, Tata Steel set a “25 by 25” aspiration to have 25% diverse employees in its workforce by 2025. While the programme covers a wide variety of diversity dimensions – such as gender, LGBTQ+, disability and caste – the initial focus was on improving gender diversity, specifically in core manufacturing and mining roles.

Cultural and societal barriers have kept women-identifying individuals out of the workforce in India – especially in mining and manufacturing work, which are traditionally seen as unsuitable for women. This initiative aims to alleviate these barriers through inclusive recruiting and policies, upskilling and sponsorship.


In 2018, Walmart launched “Live Better U” (LBU), a 100% company paid education programme that supports adult working learners by providing access to education and skilling credentials through 15 accredited educational institutions.

LBU offers US associates an array of educational opportunities, including high school completion, language courses, college degree programmes and skill-based certificates while simultaneously providing ongoing mentorship.

LBU is part of Walmart’s larger investment in employee learning, with the goal of upskilling associates to drive retention, advancement and performance, specifically for front-line associates.

The expert panel further highlighted "stand-out" design and execution approaches from seven other submissions which are also included in the report to inspire innovative and bold DEI action. These were by BCG, Bridgewater Associates, Cisco, Regeneron, McKinsey, Nokia and Salesforce.

Want to become a Lighthouse?

A DEI Lighthouse is a corporate initiative that has demonstrated significant, scalable, quantifiable and sustained impact for (an) underrepresented group(s). They can be about diversity, equity and/or inclusion; about employees, suppliers, customers, and/or the broader community; and address any underrepresented group.

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