Ombuds’ corner: Two striking features from last year

In this series, the Bulletin aims to explain the role of the Ombuds at CERN by presenting practical examples of misunderstandings that could have been resolved by the Ombuds if he had been contacted earlier. Please note that, in all the situations we present, the names are fictitious and used only to improve clarity.


Happy New Year 2012 to all! At the beginning of this New Year, I would like to draw your attention to two important features that appeared from the statistics on the numbers and classes of visitors who came to the Ombuds during the first year of operations. The number of women was by far superior to the number of men who visited the Ombuds, when compared to the actual CERN percentage in such categories. The number of people visiting the Ombuds holding a Limited Duration contract was surprisingly lower than the number of visitors with an Indefinite appointment.

In terms of pure number of visitors, the Ombuds met around the same number of men and women. However these numbers show a very different picture for the CERN staff if they are converted into percentages based on the overall distribution of men and women at CERN. The percentage of female CERN staff who met the Ombuds compared to the female CERN staff population is 5.3%, while for men it is 2%. That means 2.7 times more female CERN staff – almost a factor 3 above men - used the Ombuds' services.

Gender of the CERN staff using the Ombuds' services, weighted according to male/female ratio at CERN.

The contract types of CERN staff using the Ombuds' services.

There are also striking differences, when converted into percentages of the CERN population, between the categories of the staff members, depending on whether the people have an Indefinite (IC) or a Limited Duration (LD) contract. The difference between visitors based on their contract type is almost a factor 2.5. Much less staff with an LD contract contacted the Ombuds. Further observations lead me to believe that this difference is coming from the type of contract and not from the different duration of the contract.

I will let you draw your own conclusions. However, I think that we should improve our impartiality towards gender and type of contracts. The new programme favouring Diversity is certainly an excellent move in such a direction.


Contact the Ombuds Early!


by Vincent Vuillemin