Press release

Only 0.22 percent of C-suite members in Norwegian management teams have a non-Western background

30 May 2023

PA Consulting has mapped the composition of the management teams of Norway’s largest companies and public organisations. The analysis is based on information from the companies’ websites, available annual reports, and direct communication contact with the companies.

Among Norway’s 50 largest companies, there is only one person, Aysegül Cin, from Gjensidige, in a management team who is Norwegian with a non-Western background. She was the only one among a total of 459 people in these management teams, which amounts to 0.22 percent of the total. When PA Consulting did a similar survey in 2019, this number was three people.

“It is a challenge that there are few Norwegians with a multicultural background in management positions in the Norwegian business and public sector, and the trend is in fact moving in the wrong direction. This is a surprising and sad development, especially at a time when many people are talking about the importance of having this on the agenda,” says Ali Rana, who was responsible for the survey at PA Consulting.

The survey is also expanded to cover Norway's 100 largest companies, where the proportion of Norwegians with a non-Western background is 0.39% (3 out of 770). In addition to Aysegül Cin, there is Thomas Novaro, Director of Fuel at Circle K, and Daniel Kjørberg Siraj, CEO of OBOS. The latter is the only Norwegian CEO with a non-Western background.

The proportion of management team members from a multicultural background (as well as those who were born outside Norway and including Western backgrounds) in the Norwegian business is 2.3%. When including people with a background from another European country, 7.95% of top management team members in Norway's 100 largest companies are people from a non-Norwegian background.

In the Norwegian population in general the proportion of people with a non-Western background is 8.3%, whereas total population of people with a non-Norwegian background was 15.1% according to Statistics Norway (SSB).

Public sector

When it comes to diversity in top management teams, the situation is not any better in the public sector. In the survey’s sample of the 100 largest public organisations, none of the top executives (CEO) have a multicultural, non-Western background. In the management groups, only 1.02% had a multicultural, non-Western background.

“We had thought that the public sector would have led the way and been a good example to follow. They have an even bigger opportunity than the private sector to take action in this area, but it is disappointing that they have so little to demonstrate on the diversity composition of the management team,” says Rana.

Ali Rana is a strategy consultant and a member of PA Consulting's management team. As a strategy consultant, he advises top managers and management groups across Northern Europe. Rana was born in Norway to parents who were immigrants from Pakistan. He meets few, if any, people from a multicultural and non-Western background in his everyday life.

“I have been in many management teams in the Nordics over the past 15-20 years, but have hardly met anyone with my background. It is a pity. A more diverse management team thinks differently and more broadly, and is crucial in driving innovation. And in a changing world, where it is all about knowing your customers and users well, I am surprised by the results as we live in a multicultural society,” says Rana.

Ali believes we must think more broadly about diversity in Norway.

“The issue of female representation is important, but I would like to encourage the expansion of the term diversity. In countries such as the USA and the UK, there is a stronger focus on the topic. There they talk to a much greater extent about diversity based on both gender and cultural background,” says Rana.

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