Diversity and Equality

Besides the cultural diversity (Dutch team backgrounds: Dutch, Greek, Iraqi, Bulgarian, Kazak, Russian, Czech and Turkish – our Christmas internal package containing a cultural/ culinary symbol from each of the backgrounds to celebrate and recognize them) and age diversity within our team (from 18 till 65), PIRGROUP is a company where more than 51% of the employees are female and we are part of the International Society of Female Professionals.

There are 2 main initiatives we would like to recognize looking back at 2023. The first one is the receipt of the status of “Workplace of choice for mother 2023” (one of the first 3 companies that obtained that status after Hunkemoller and Booking.com in 2023).

Empowering Working Mothers at PIRGROUP

We believe that motherhood shouldn’t limit a woman’s career growth and development and we understand the challenges that working mothers still face every day, from juggling work responsibilities and their career aspirations to caring for their children. That’s why we’re committed to offer a positive work environment and work experience for mothers. PIRGROUP has been tested on the flexible working arrangements that we offer to primary carers, the openness to return ships, the possibilities for job sharing, part-time working, remote working, etc. Besides that, we offer in-house initiatives such as “Bring your child to the office for Dutch language reading” as we have noticed that some of our international colleagues struggle with the Dutch language while their children attend local schools. The international employees can bring their child to the office and one of our Dutch colleagues can read Dutch books with them.

Bridging the Internship Gap

The second initiative is starting internships offering for “MBO students” (MBO level is oriented towards vocational training, equivalent of junior college education) that struggle to find internships to complete their studies. Those students suffer from discrimination based on their names, nationalities, cultural and religious backgrounds. The students bear the responsibility of securing their own internships, and research in The Netherlands (along with experience), shows the difficulty ethnic minority MBO students encounter in obtaining work experience placements. Unfortunately, it is a challenge for them to get invited to an interview, and even if they do- they often face rejection after that. In 2023 there are 3 students that have successfully completed their internships with PIRGROUP and there is a 4th one who started at the beginning of 2024. We are working closely with the MBO Utrecht not only to secure internship places for those young kids with unprivileged backgrounds, but also to educate them being guest-speakers to inspire them in their future professional development.

We discuss the nation-wide recognized problem of internship placements for MBO students also with other companies and organizations to motivate them to open up to offering internship opportunities (which indeed require more involvement and might be considered more time-consuming from business perspective), overcoming the prejudice and negative perception of MBO levels students, as once they get the fair chance, those students prove to be eager and 100% committed to gain the valuable practical experience they need.