The importance of diversity in educational background

Meet Sinika Daun, Nordic Head of Operational Efficiency and one of our talented female managers for a talk about the school of life, the importance of diversity in educational background, and the obligation as a manager to create a proper work environment where women and men can see themselves and grow.

Can you tell us about your path into the financial industry?

Yes, of course. When I joined our company 10 years ago, I started in Customer Service and Granting, and I have been learning and growing with the experience ever since. I do not have a financial education, and my previous work experience ranges as widely as from industrial painting to a fashion store and insurance sales. The latter was actually very educational. Here I learned everything about communications and tonality: How to put trust into a conversation, how to decipher what the customer truly says and wants, how to avoid people hanging up on you, and how to close an agreement with a client. Those sales and service skills are super relevant and important if you work in customer service. In fact, they are useful in many aspects of life.

Today I am a people manager myself, and when we recruit for positions in Operations, we often attract candidates from economic studies, which is great.

However, I keep in mind that diversity in the educational background of our colleagues is important. First, because the “school of life” adds assets to the company that should not be underestimated. Qualities such as motivation, ambition, know-how and creativity are something you bring to the company thanks to your personality and life experience, they do not necessarily come from your education.

Secondly, our customers do not represent one specific segment of the population. Our customers are diverse, and this diversity should be reflected in our staff.


In 2022, 51% of BNP Paribas Personal Finance employees in the Nordics are women. How do you feel that it contributes to BNP Paribas Personal Finance that there is a fairly equal distribution between men and women?

Our employee composition reflects the society, and that is how it should be.

When I trained as an industrial painter, I was a young woman in a work environment that was provocative and unsupportive of women. The bad experiences taught me the importance of ensuring a good work environment for all employees. If your surroundings act in an unfriendly or hostile manner, it is unbearable, even if you are happy with your job and position. Unhealthy work environments also have an impact on society and it is important to change them – in all industries and companies.

In this context, our company acts a as a role model. As managers, we are committed to creating proper work environments where women and men can see themselves and grow, and to be honest, I do not think about gender at work.

When I recruit, I do not consider gender, and I coach men and women in the same way. Potential variations relate to skills and personalities, not gender.


In 2020, 18% of the managers in the 20 largest European banks and mortgage lenders were women. How do you feel that it affects the industry that less than a fifth of managers are women?

Those are sad numbers. I come from Sweden, where we are more progressive in this area, and I find it strange that the rest of Europe is lagging behind. It is difficult to pinpoint a single explanation for this, but the consequence must be that you lose potential, skills and perspective, and that there is a discrepancy between your organisation’ population and society.

I am happy to work in a company, which is not part of that statistic. Today we actually have more women than men in management positions within Operations.

Maybe it is thanks to soft values ​​that are more prevalent in management today, and which can sometimes be more natural for women to practice. In any case, I interpret the trend as a positive sign of a healthy equality in our Nordic organisation.

However, we must not rest on our laurels. It is our duty to make every career path feel like an open opportunity, regardless of your gender. For example: Could it be relevant with more women in IT and more men in HR? My point is that even though we are on target here, we still have work to do.