If you look closely at photos of the rookie teams, you’ll often end up with this observation: a bunch of young white men in their twenties. To change the picture, the French Tech mission released a “parity pact” in late May that includes five commitments, including the creation of a joint team of spokespeople.
Until today, almost 140 French start-ups have signed this letter. But lack of parity isn’t the only thorn in French Tech’s side. Inclusion in the broadest sense (age, social and ethnic origin, etc.) is fishing in the ecosystem.
According to a study carried out by the Diversidays association with the companies Occurrence and PwC published exclusively by “Les Echos”, 39% of start-up employees say they have already been victims of discrimination during their integration and 40% say they have been victims or witness of discrimination in their duties. And this, while 81% of respondents have, at first glance, a good opinion of start-ups in terms of HR.
“Where is the hyperresponsibility? »
“There is a somewhat ambivalent side. On the one hand, start-ups have a very positive image and, on the other hand, we notice that there are a certain among themselves in this environment “Notices Anthony Babkine, co-founder of this association for equal opportunities in digital technology. Degree level and age are the two main criteria perceived as blocking start-up recruitment.
“This apprehension is explained by the homogeneity of the profiles of the founders, who generally have the same training, the same school. This can be felt later in their recruitment”, underlines Anthony Babkine. Start-ups that have to recruit en masse following a mega fundraising are particularly affected by this phenomenon.
“We talk a lot about hypergrowth, but where is the hyperresponsibility in all of this? asks Anthony Babkine. Building a more inclusive recruitment strategy would make it possible, in particular, to respond to the shortage of talent that the ecosystem has been experiencing for several months, according to Chloé Sebagh, co-author of the study.
Evaluate your inclusion policy
To improve the diversity policies of start-ups, Diversidays created with the Mozaïk Foundation the TechYourPlace Movement, which brings together technology companies and venture capital funds around the implementation of good diversity and inclusion practices. Its members can access Mixity, a diversity and inclusion policy assessment solution. “Few startups have knocked on our door proactively. It’s not a priority for them,” laments Anthony Babkine.
Several well-known names in the ecosystem like Le Slip Français, diaper brand Joone or anti-waste solution Phenix are among TechYourPlace members alongside funds like Serena and ISAI.
Some startups have solved this problem by appointing diversity inclusion managers, such as the unicorn Contentsquare, which recruited Orly Lynn, who handled these matters at HSBC in the United States.
YZR, a start-up that standardizes data from store suppliers, has implemented, since its inception, an inclusive recruitment policy. “It is essential to do it from the beginning. When you start a start-up, you tend to recruit people around you, which creates a huge filter,” he explains. Sébastien Garcinco-founder of the start-up founded in late 2019.
To date, 50% of YZR’s workforce is female and the profiles are very diverse: employees are between 22 and 61 years old. “I don’t look for diplomas and I recruit a lot of people in recycling”, says the manager, who admits that he sometimes makes positive discrimination, which can generate questions for the hired ones. “Some women question its legitimacy,” admits Sébastien Garcin. Even good intentions do not produce perfect results.