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Diversity and Inclusion at SAP

Feature Article | December 12, 2016 by Jasminka Webb

An awareness of the value of diversity can bring companies greater success, which is why diversity and inclusion have become strategic pillars at SAP.

The latest series “Diversity at SAP” shows how the company is living this strategy. Colleagues representing the different dimensions of diversity share their insights about daily life at SAP, and the commitments in their private lives.

Overview of Diversity and Inclusion at SAP

A work environment in which employees are appreciated in all their dimensions and for all their diversity equals an environment of innovation and inspiration. Even customer and employee satisfaction depends on this. SAP has 335,000 customers across 190 different countries, so it is particularly important to reflect diversity within the company.

For this reason, SAP has been supporting diversity and inclusion within its ranks for many years. In 2013, the company redefined its strategy with four central pillars: Gender Intelligence, Cross-Generation Intelligence, Culture and Identity, and Differently Abled People. And it has also defined clear KPIs for each focus topic.

Gender Intelligence

SAP’s goal is to have 25% of the management positions filled by women by the end of 2017. The goal was set in the third quarter of 2013 with women in 19.6% of the manager positions. The current percentage for the fourth quarter of 2016 is 24.3%. This shows that SAP achieved an impressive increase of five percent more women in manager positions in just three years.

This wouldn’t have been possible without the many initiatives toward this end. These initiatives have won several renowned awards, including EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality), which distinguishes companies who show extraordinary commitment to gender equality. In early 2016, SAP became the first EDGE certified technology company in the U.S. In September 2016, SAP became the first ever multinational technology company to receive a world-wide EDGE certification.

Cross-Generation Intelligence

SAP realizes that we have five generations working together in today’s economy, and the company respects this by hiring employees across all ages and career levels with their diversity of experience, working styles, and perspectives, and letting them work together.

In line with this, SAP has set in motion programs to make working hours more flexible, and initiated projects to make sure everyone keeps in touch. These kind of projects help colleagues undertaking prolonged absences (sabbatical, parental leave) stay in touch with the department to which they will return.

Culture & Identity

This pillar covers all initiatives that represent people with different cultural or ethnic backgrounds, religions, gender, or sexual orientation. There are many employee networks where people with the same interests, abilities, and needs can connect and help each other, including several refugee initiatives. SAP currently has over 100 refugee interns at SAP, some of which have already been hired as regular employees.

There are also other networks such as Pride@SAP, which represents the LGBT Community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender), Latinos@SAP America, BEN (Black Employee Network), VEG@SAP for  Vegans , Vegetarians, and any other employee that want to reduce their consumption of animal products, and others. Having so many different voices is one of SAP’s greatest strengths, since it impacts both the work environment and the sense of community.

Differently Abled People

This focus topic shows that SAP values the inclusion of people with disabilities greatly, and focuses on highlighting each person’s individual talents rather than their limitations. SAP supports the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and follows a world-wide action plan that will raise the awareness of inclusion and how to handle it within the company. This includes SAP’s internationally recognized Autism at Work program. Over 100 people diagnosed with autism are currently working at SAP, and our company already received the Disability Matters EU Award in 2015.

SAP Employee Workshop: Focus on Insight

Diversity and inclusion are a strategic priority at SAP. But the advantages are often closely followed by questions: How can you utilize these advantages on a day-to-day basis? What does comprehensive inclusion really look like? How do you work together despite your differences?

SAP has devised its own special workshop for SAP employees called Focus on Insight to answer these questions. Each of the seven multimedia workshop modules starts with an overview of the topics of diversity and inclusion in general, before focusing in greater detail on their respective topic.


Sustainability has a great impact on our long-term success as a company.

– Anka Wittenberg, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, SAP SE


Leadership in Diversity & Inclusion

Anka Wittenberg, senior vice president and chief diversity & inclusion officer, is responsible for diversity and inclusion at SAP together with her very diverse team. Her colleagues are located in India, North America, South America, Spain, and Germany.

Wittenberg holds a degree in Economics, and has always been passionate about her area of responsibility, both at work and at home. As a scientist, it is very important to her to show how much diversity and inclusion can impact financial KPIs and influence a company’s long-term success. Ultimately, diverse perspectives on matters such as problem management, research, and development can help to bring successful, long-term results.

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