Diversity management is generally defined as a combination of strategies intended to achieve better representation in the employment of excluded groups within organisations. In this context, diversity is considered as added value for companies and implies that organisations are committed to building more inclusive decision-making processes. In short, the purpose of diversity management is to support and shape the development of adequate and effective anti-discrimination policies in the EU.
This concept was especially promoted in the context of the fight against discrimination during the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities for All. In 2005, the European Commission proposed a framework programme on Solidarity and the Management of Migration Flows (COM (2005) 123 final), whereby diversity management would be a tool to achieve specific objectives, such as strengthening the ability of the host society to increase diversity and build sustainable organisational structures for integration. As a result, in 2007, the European Council established the European Fund for the Integration of third-country nationals for the period 2007 to 2013 as part of its framework programme 'Solidarity and management of migration flows'. The fund took on board previous objectives as well as the development and implementation of intercultural training, capacity building and diversity management, alongside the training of staff within public and private service providers, including educational institutions.
Since 2007, the EU has continued to boost diversity, for instance by financing and promoting the European Observatory of Diversity platform (created in 2008) to provide guidance and best practice advice to companies and decision-makers. Social dialogue at European level has also been important in this process: on 21 October 1995, the European social partners meeting in Florence adopted a declaration reaffirming their commitment to combat discrimination, racism and xenophobia. The European Trade Union Confederation has promoted equality between men and women, while also considering ethnic minorities and adopting recommendations for the promotion of LGBT workers’ rights. In the same way, employer organisation BusinessEurope has established its official position as promoting flexible and voluntary solutions at company level and encouraging all stakeholders to look at diversity from a performance and competitiveness point of view.