March 28, 2023

All genders welcome: Diversity in recruitment and onboarding

“Our bundle of measures is aimed at transforming structure and culture. To achieve long-term effects, we are focusing on new hires: The recruitment process is diversity-inclusive and diversity skills play an important role in onboarding,” affirms Maria Mucke, chair of the Equal Opportunities Working Group at the University of Klagenfurt.

In specific terms, the team introduced four gender- and diversity-aware measures in the area of recruitment, starting with the initial job announcement, moving through selection, and on to the onboarding of new colleagues. By adding the innovative phrase “all genders welcome” to the announcements, the university clearly signals that a welcoming culture for people of all genders awaits applicants. Furthermore, the university also attaches great value to gender and diversity skills when selecting (future) managers. For example, these skills must be included in the list of desired attributes in all adverts for tenure-track positions, professorships and executive positions in university management. To safeguard fair selection procedures and the associated appointment of the best-qualified person, the university offers in-service training on equal opportunities issues in HR procedures. Moreover, all new employees receive training on the topic of anti-discrimination in the workplace from the Equal Opportunities Working Group.

A unique pilot project was implemented by the people in charge of human resources at the departments of mathematics and statistics in cooperation with the Equal Opportunities Working Group: Around a dozen doctoral positions were posted for the FWF doc.funds doctoral school “Modeling – Analysis – Optimisation of discrete, continuous, and stochastic systems”. The hiring panel adopted a three-stage application process. This provided for the assessment of specific professional competences based not only on the formal application documents submitted, but also by means of a task to be completed in the course of two interviews. The objective was to break down structural barriers resulting in particular from diverging curricula offered by other universities and countries, and to assemble a diverse team. “Today, we have 14 impressive young people from different parts of the world working in this project, including ten women,” as project lead and head of department Michaela Szölgyenyi points out.

This bundle of measures has been distinguished with the Diversitas grand prize, awarded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research in late 2022.


Picture credits: BMBWF/Martin Lusser.

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