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Louise Easterbrook

CFO, GSMA

The global association representing the mobile industry highlights how effective data collection has enabled it to make significant advances in diversity and inclusion within the organisation.


Data is a crucial component in delivering a diverse and inclusive workplace. Louise Easterbrook, Chief Financial Officer at GSMA, believes it helps to effectively benchmark and monitor progress in the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) space. She also insists that data on gender, pay and ethnicity must be handled sensitively and presented with transparency.

Utilising data to become more diverse

At GSMA, which represents mobile network operators globally and has around 600 employees, DEI is embedded throughout the organisation. Data on gender and ethnicity has already highlighted DEI success. Findings in the association’s latest diversity report, for example, reveal a 51–49% male/female split in the top leadership posts, up from 23% female representation in 2016. “We are pleased with progress around gender in terms of pay, promotions and representation at senior levels in the organisation,” adds Easterbrook.

If you have a narrow perspective, you would not be serving members very well.

Inclusive hiring and opportunities

DEI in recruitment is underpinned by balanced shortlists for senior roles, gender-neutral job descriptions with the requirement for a degree removed, training for managers in recruiting inclusively and not asking candidates for their current compensation details. In the London office, she points to 49% of new starters coming from ethnic minorities, and a focus for the year ahead is driving up ethnic minority representation at more senior levels.

“As a global association, if you have a narrow perspective, you would not be serving members very well. We know we can do our job better if we have a diverse workforce,” insists Easterbrook. They are also working with an organisation to provide apprenticeships to enable access to new talent in the tech industry, emphasising the importance of people progressing with the organisation at all levels.

Thinking with different perspectives

Staff mindset is an important aspect of DEI. “We ask them to be curious when they think about how they act and behave; and with the contributions they are making, they should be thinking of it not just through their own perspective but how someone else with a different background might be interpreting that.”

The company also has other inclusivity elements such as the ‘Let’s Talk’ sessions of group discussions on topics such as caring for dependents, grief, mental health and neurodiversity. Other initiatives include a menopause policy, a parental return to work programme and a parents and carer network and compassionate leave guidelines. To deliver value to its members, Easterbrook emphasises that DEI at GSMA is about employees being seen, heard and valued as they are.

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