Research into diversity and inclusivity in the workplace in Twente

How diverse and inclusive are the workplaces in Twente? More specifically: those in the manufacturing industry, the software industry and engineering? Three female students, Amalia Balan, Daria Lungu and Carithea Richard of the University of Twente, have dealt with this question lately and they have found answers.

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In short:

  •  Two Romanian students and one Jamaican from the University of Twente conducted research into diversity and inclusivity in workplaces of the software, engineers and manufacturing industry in Twente.
  • One of the conclusions is that 81 percent of managers and CEOs are Dutch. None of the companies surveyed has a non-European working in a top position.

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They were able to draw a number of conclusions based on various interviews that they conducted at six randomly selected companies from the aforementioned sectors and based on the completed questionnaires that the total number of companies in these sectors received from Twente. For example, at 63 percent of the companies English is spoken as the main language, 24 percent of the employees are women and 81 percent of the managers are Dutch, there is no inclusivity employee active in any of the companies surveyed and no one of non-European descent is working in a top position.

Big time for a change

“While other studies show that diversity makes the best team,” says Amalia, who is pursuing her master's degree in communication sciences in Enschede. “It's about time something changes in these numbers,” she thinks. “But the nice thing is that during and after the presentation of our research we got into conversation with a lot of companies. Without exception, they were interested in our research and eager to work with diversity and inclusivity. We hope that we will have the opportunity to deepen our knowledge and move forward with the results.”


Daria, International Business Administration student, says that she has also developed a board game for business together with Carithea (Industrial Design Engineering) and Amalia. “By asking 'yes/no' questions about inclusiveness and diversity, we want to ensure that companies are aware of the current situation in their workplace. But we have also drawn up some more tough questions that invite discussion and self-reflection in this area.” The three have also written a brochure in which tools are discussed to help companies pay (more) attention to the subject.

All nationalities

According to the students, representatives of the Twente business community indicated that they are curious about the possible follow-up of the research. “We hope that will come,” says Amalia. “We are the only ones in Twente who have conducted research into this; in Eindhoven they started it six years ago. Incidentally, we work together with the University there because we can learn from each other, but we hope that this subject will also receive more attention in Twente.”


Amalia and Daria are from Romania, Carithea from Jamaica. All three are committed to inclusivity. Not only because of their research, but also because the item is personal to them. “I think it's important that people of all nationalities are accepted, in business and beyond.”


Carithea hopes that the research will make it easier for international students to find a job in Twente in the future. “There was a lack of knowledge on this subject in the region. We want to increase this knowledge through our research.”


Daria adds: “It turns out that it is difficult to get a job in Twente if you don't speak Dutch. So far I have not succeeded, outside of a position at the University, and I think that is a shame because I would like to work in the business world. But, to end on a positive note: Our research shows that once one 'International' is working, the rest gets used to it quickly and more soon follow. I would say to the companies of Twente: take advantage of this fact!”


The research was carried out by the municipality of Enschede, Twenteboard, University of Twente, Fraunhover Innovation Platform and Keeping Talent in Twente.

Date: 9 August 2022 |

Source of tekst: Amalia Balan |

Author: Maaike Thüss

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