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Vive la différence!

At SNCF*, we’re fighting for diversity on all fronts—promoting gender diversity and equality, advancing long-term employment for young people, preventing and fighting discrimination, and hiring seniors and people with disabilities.

*On this page, “SNCF” refers to SNCF EPIC—the state-owned parent company only, minus its subsidiaries.

Browse our diversity guide (in French)

Innovating for diversity

Young people with no training or degrees. Workers with disabilities. Seniors over 50. Workers from other cultures and continents. All of these women and men have unique abilities that make our company strong. For years, we’ve encouraged them to give us their best by adopting creative, innovative human resource policies that:

  • provide sustainable, long-term employment for young people
  • help young people develop professional skills through work-study programmes
  • promote gender diversity and equality in the workplace
  • provide jobs for seniors
  • employ individuals with disabilities
  • prevent and fight discrimination

Our commitment to diversity: key dates

1992: We sign our first collective agreement on hiring workers with disabilities
SNCF signs a corporate Diversity Charter
SNCF signs its first collective agreement on gender equality and diversity in the workplace and holds its first Equality & Skills recruitment forums
: SNCF participates in Espoir banlieues to help underprivileged youth find jobs
: SNCF and the French State sign a master agreement on the Emplois d’Avenir job creation programme
: SNCF signs a convention with the French Ministry of Women's Rights

Browse our diversity guide

Gender diversity & equality

SNCF is determined to develop a corporate culture built on equal career opportunities for women and men, and we’ve met this commitment through a series of collective agreements signed over the past several years with the trade unions representing our employees. In March 2014, the French standards authority Afnor awarded SNCF a workplace equality certification in recognition of the action we’ve taken. 

Our diversity policy targets five key objectives:

  • improve diversity in recruitment
  • adapt working conditions to encourage diversity within job categories
  • offer career paths that promote gender equality
  • make the workplace more parent-friendly
  • promote better work-life balance

As part of our effort to promote gender equality, we became the first major French corporation to focus specifically on adolescent girls. Since 2012, SNCF sites all over France have held Girls’ Day, a special event designed to present our technical careers to young women in secondary education. Each year, some 700 SNCF employees enthusiastically welcome around 3,000 girls for a day of on-site visits and conversations that help them identify the rail jobs of tomorrow.

Hiring workers with disabilities

Except for the French State, SNCF is the country’s biggest employer of workers with disabilities, and we’ve had an active equal opportunity policy for over 20 years. Since 1992, we've signed six agreements to ensure that disabilities don’t prevent workers from getting and keeping a job with us—or moving up the career ladder.

Today SNCF benefits from the skills and expertise of over 6,000 employees with disabilities, and our current policy towards them is expressed in the motto of our Disability & Jobs Mission: At SNCF, skills are all that counts.

Hantrain: A work-study programme for all

Under our Hantrain programme, we offer several work-study programmes for individuals with disabilities who want to train for SNCF job categories. Launched in 2012, the programme supports candidates throughout their training, with benefits that include:

  • interview preparation
  • a diploma recognized by the French State
  • a job offer

On the Calendar: In early January 2015, we'll begin recruiting a new class of Hantrain participants.

A closer look

Hiring young people & seniors

At SNCF, we believe that a diverse workforce is an asset, so our commitment to every worker is the same, regardless of age. With their experience, job skills, and thorough understanding of the business world, seniors are enormously valuable for us: by the end of 2014, the proportion of Group employees age 55 and older stood at 11.2% of our global workforce—up from 7.9% at year-end 2012. And we're working to ensure that extending their careers will create opportunities for them and for SNCF.

To provide long-term employment for young people, we’re rolling out a package of measures that target the obstacles they face. Between 2013 and 2014, SNCF signed 750 “Jobs of the Future” contracts—renewable 18-month employment agreements under a French government programme. Designed for young people ages 18 to 25 who come from disadvantaged areas, have few or no work qualifications, and are struggling to get work, the programme helps candidates find a job and keep it. In addition, SNCF regularly recruits in underprivileged areas to identify skilled candidates who might not otherwise consider applying for a job with us. Since 2006, we’ve recruited over 6,000 young people in working-class neighbourhoods.

Work-study: a path to success

Every year, SNCF engages work-study employees from a range of degree programmes, and these young people now account for nearly 5% of our workforce. With an eye towards early recruitment for rail-specific jobs, we offer programmes in partnership with primary schools, secondary schools and universities.

Preventing & fighting discrimination

SNCF’s long commitment to non-discrimination has included signing the United Nations Global Compact in 2003, and adopting our own Diversity Charter in 2004. Under these agreements, we’ve shown that promoting diversity also means preventing and fighting discrimination in all its forms. Each year, for example, we train 3,000 managers and HR employees, increasing their awareness of the need to fight discrimination. Bottom line: thanks to our corporate policy—grounded in the values of equality, religious neutrality and mutual respect—diversity very definitely powers our performance.

Browse our corporate Diversity Charter