Diversity and inclusion

NS believes it is essential to work with a rich diversity of people in terms of age, views, experience, background, gender, sexual orientation and character. There is room in our company for everyone. At NS, we ensure equal opportunities for all employees to fully develop their talents, as part of our effort to create an open, safe and inclusive working environment. We want to reflect society at all levels. We therefore encourage the recruitment and retention of women, people with a migration background and people with occupational disabilities. We expect our suppliers to do the same. They can find out more about this in the Supplier Code of Conduct (new window).

Women at the top

At year-end 2023, women filled 35% of senior management positions at NS (2022: 37%). That is equal to our objective. At that time, the percentage of female members of the Supervisory Board was 50%. Following the early departure of a female board member, the Executive Board had no female members (0%). This means that NS does not comply with Art. 5.2.3 of the 2022 Government policy document on state-owned companies or the Ingrowth Quota Act. According to that policy, women should make up at least one-third of the Executive Board. NS is aware of this and, in time, it will again meet the set requirements through the selection procedure for new Executive Board members. Meanwhile, a female Financial Director has been appointed with effect from 1 March 2024.

Equal pay

NS conducts a ‘male/female’ pay gap analysis every two years. The most up-to-date calculation from 2022 shows there once again is no gender pay gap at NS. From 2025, the new accountability directive, CSRD, will come into force and we will conduct this analysis annually.

Staff with occupational disabilities

In 2023, NS had 159 employees with an occupational disability in what are known as participatory jobs (2022: 170). Of these employees, 141 were still in employment at the end of December. Due to the tight labour market, staff with disabilities are difficult to recruit. At the end of 2023, 4 job vacancies for this target group had not yet been filled. We train internal employees and managers in mentoring colleagues with an occupational disability. We also offer the latter career guidance sessions, workshops and training programmes to help them build their careers within NS or elsewhere.

Staff with a migration background

NS continues to work on hiring and promoting employees with a migration background. To this end, we cooperate with UAF, Agora Network and the ECHO Foundation (organisations in the field of cultural diversity), among others. We also paid extra attention last year in management development processes to the hiring and promoting of people in these groups. Besides awareness workshops, we introduced anonymous job applications more widely and deployed unbiased selection and structured interviewing methods.

In addition to the technical apprenticeship programme for asylum permit holders in Haarlem, we started a similar programme together with Randstad Techniek at the maintenance company in Berkel-Enschot. As a result, a total of 17 asylum permit holders are now in a training programme to become train mechanics. We offer employees a learning track, support in specialist terminology, workplace guidance and development opportunities. Through RefugeeWork, municipalities and the Dutch Council for Refugees, we bring this apprenticeship programme to the attention of people with a refugee background. We also do this in our own TechniekFabriek vocational training programme, and for vacancies in the various retail chain stores. To increase their chances on the labour market, we organised a meet & greet for 150 asylum permit holders in Utrecht in October 2023.
In 2023, ten asylum permit holders started in a position at higher professional/university graduate level in a UAF Kickstart job. We also enhanced the Kickstart job programme by including various forms of guidance and training, and extended its duration to a maximum of three 1-year contracts. As a result, seven people have been able to move on to normal positions in our company. We also encourage the hiring of migrants for normal job vacancies and traineeships through intensive cooperation with UAF.
NS has had a Diversity in Senior Positions Committee since 2020. Since the committee was established, we have seen a 7.8% increase in staff with a migration background in senior management positions (up to 31 December 2023). Before we had this committee, that percentage was lower and there was practically no hiring or promotion of people in this category. Our original target was to have at least 10% of senior positions filled by employees with a migration background by 2025. That target has been revised upwards since 2022 in response to our wish to have a workforce that is more in line with current demographic proportions.

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