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Participation in the Cultural Diversity Barometer: more insight into diversity among staff

Diversity and inclusion are core values for Leiden University, and our aim is to offer all staff and students equal opportunities. As the University lacks adequate information about the cultural diversity of our staff, this spring we are taking part for the first time in the Cultural Diversity Barometer. The D&I Expertise Office is organising an information meeting for staff on Thursday 1 April to give you the opportunity to learn how the Barometer works and what its objectives are, as well as discussing the importance of data and insights into staff diversity.

By monitoring the situation and applying an active diversity policy, a great deal of progress has been made in recent years in promoting gender balance among academic staff and those in management positions. At the moment, however, we do not have adequate data about the cultural diversity of our staff. This means that we do not know to what extent our staff reflect the diversity of the student population and of society. This hampers our ability to develop a targeted policy to counter inequality in the working environment. Leiden University, together with other universities in the Randstad area, will therefore be making use of the Cultural Diversity Barometer of Statistics Netherlands (CBS), a project that gives insight into the cultural diversity of staff in a secure and reliable way.  

What is the Cultural Diversity Barometer?

The Cultural Diversity Barometer gives an organisation the opportunity to gain insight into the cultural diversity of its staff body, without individual people being identifiable or traceable. The CBS links the data on an organisation’s staff with other data and returns this to the organisation as anonymised data. Results are only provided for larger groups such as faculties and job categories. Employees are not asked to provide any new data. The data from the CBS is not stored in the University’s personnel administration system nor is it used for any other purpose or research.  Since 1 July 2020, organisations with more than 250 employees have been able to submit an application; other universities will also be taking part. You can read more about the Barometer and frequently asked questions on the website of the CBS.

What does this application mean for privacy and personal data?

The application from Leiden University will focus on academic staff and management support staff with Dutch nationality who are employed by the University. The University will share data from its own personnel administration system: date of birth, gender, postcode, house number and any suffix, and faculty or service, job category (groups with more than 250 members of staff, for example professor or senior lecturer, PhD candidate, administrative and secretarial support), pay scale and employment status. International staff members are not included in this study but comparable and readily available data on international staff will be presented in combination with the results of the Cultural Barometer. The reference date is 31 December 2020. Clearly, privacy and the security of personal data are paramount, and all data will be processed in line with the General Data Protection Regulation. The CBS removes identifying information after receiving the data and uses completely anonymised data for the analysis and reporting. The data will only be used for the Barometer. The results will not contain any identifiable data, nor any data that can be traced back to individuals.

What will the benefits be?

Increasing the diversity of staff is one of the key aims set out in the D&I work plan that was adopted by the Executive Board in 2020. While the diversity of students and staff is clearly increasing, both in terms of gender and international background, there are currently no other ways of gaining insight into the cultural diversity of staff and any possible inequalities of opportunity. The findings of the Barometer will show where interventions will be most beneficial: are we attracting a sufficiently diverse group among PhD candidates? Is there a lack of forward progression? Which units are setting a good example and attracting a more diverse workforce? Collaborating with other universities will also generate comparative data. The data from the Barometer will give us important starting points for developing policies that will allow us to achieve our ambitions in the area of diversity and inclusion.


An online meeting for staff will be held on 1 April 2021, from 15.30 to 17.00 hrs., during which we will explain the working method of the Cultural Diversity Barometer and the possibilities it offers. If you have any questions, or if you do not wish the University to share any of your personal data with the CBS for the Cultural Diversity Barometer, you can send an email within two weeks to: barometer@bb.leidenuniv.nl.

Meeting: Cultural Diversity Barometer: diversity at Leiden University

On Thursday 1 April the D&I Expertise Office is organising an online meeting for staff and students to explain our participation in the Cultural Diversity Barometer, and to discuss how insight can be gained into the diversity of our staff. You can sign up for the meeting via this link.

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