Diversity at EPFL

EPFL achieved parity among its management and academic vice presidents in 2020. The executive committee is composed of three women and three men, including the vice-president of academic affairs (provost). Three women and two men are working as associate vice-presidents to the provost.

Diversity among faculty

Diversity is more of a challenge among professors. In summer 2019, EPFL had 55 women and 279 men amid its faculty. At this time, EPFL set a target  to increase the number of female professors by which at least 40% of its offers must be made to women.

The first effects of these measures are consolidating. Between 2019 and 2022, the proportion of women rose from 27% to 38% among tenure-track professors and from 14% to 18% among tenured professors.

But there is still some way to go. The increase in diversity is slow, as the number of new positions depends directly on the number of departures. If EPFL continues to hire 40% women to replace departures, women will make up 30% of the faculty by 2027. To reach an equal number of women and men in 2033, more than 60% of future hires would have to be women.

Diversity in management

In 2020, the ETH Domain set a target of 25% women among the managerial staff of its institutions by 2024. EPFL managers occupy a position in a functional grade between 10 and 14, either in the faculties or the vice-presidencies. This category includes members of the administrative and technical staff as well as members of the academic staff, such as MER and titular professors. For instance, a member of the executive committee corresponds to a functional grade of 14. 

In August 2020, EPFL had 429 managers, of which 96 were women (22%). In August 2022, this proportion had risen to 26%.

In management, too, there is still way to go. Our simulations show that if we hire women for 40% of the replacements, one third of managers will be women in 2027. To achieve parity between women and men in 10 years’ time, 60% of new hires should be women.

07 March 2023

Sarah Gerster, Tristan Maillard, Omar Ballester