19th November 2015

Banking sector recognises achievements and challenges on diversity and inclusion

A new BBA report ‘Diversity and inclusion in banking’ highlights current successes and the challenges that remain, including the need to define the ‘carrot and stick’ for the diversity agenda.

The new report, published today, offers a review of the published data and findings from 2014 strategic reviews, annual reports and CSR reports across the industry.

It shows strong progress on meeting gender representation targets, partly driven by Government, jointly championed with industry via the Davies Review agenda, and supplemented by voluntary industry initiatives like the 30% Club. Bringing together research and data from recent studies, the report shows:

  • Across 15 leading UK, EU and US banks in 2014 there was an average 25.67 per cent of women on boards, and 22.3 per cent female senior managers.
  • Progress has continued throughout this year, with subsequent data showing that 31 per cent of board directors on FTSE 100 banks are female, compared to 26.1 per cent for the FTSE 100 as a whole.
  • Ten banks appear in the 2015 Times Top 50 employers for women awards list.

BBA Chief Executive, Anthony Browne, said:

“Our ‘Diversity and inclusion in banking’ report shows that progress on diversity can, and is, being made on a voluntary basis in the banking sector. And by voluntary, you should not read half-hearted effort – the report’s findings show that the days of the old boys club in banking are numbered.”

“But we are not complacent and we recognise the on-going challenge of this agenda for an industry that still has a reputation for pinstripes and braces.  Work still needs to be done to increase the number of female senior managers and address the problem of the corporate pipeline. Diversity is more likely to be achieved if there are internal consequences for not trying to improve it. Our industry intends to lead, not to follow.”

“The BBA also supports the Government’s Think, Act, Report initiative, pay transparency measures and continued focus on the crucial area of diversity. We welcome the aims of the Gadhia Review and look forward to seeing the detail of the next steps.”

Minister for Women and Equalities, Nicky Morgan said:

“I’m pleased to see the banking sector has followed the recommendations in Lord Davies’ report and increased female representation at board level to 31 per cent. As a country we cannot afford to waste the talents of a single person, let alone half our population, and that is why women everywhere should be given the opportunity to fulfil their potential. We must continue to increase women’s representation in UK boardrooms and secure lasting change for the benefit of women, business and the economy.”

Government initiatives are one means by which the pace can be quickened, but a wide range of corporate initiatives also show promise. In particular, the report highlights the range of initiatives, schemes and policies introduced by the banking sector that have helped drive progress and could be adopted by others:

  • Engaging staff at all levels but ensuring that ultimately senior business leaders take accountability.
  • Ensuring data is granular enough to drive meaningful insights for individual managers.
  • Using hiring, promotion and retention levers in combination was much more effective than using each independently.
  • Creating networks, mentoring and reverse mentoring opportunities to facilitate cross-generational relationships and information exchange
  • Aligning diversity with business imperatives.
    • E.g. Barclays Beacon Technology that enables customers to share their accessibility requirements with branch staff via an app.
  • Appointing visible role models and sharing specific examples of diversity and inclusion in action.
    • E.g. Deutsche Bank UK’s Diversity Council.
  • Providing pragmatic tips for managers.
    • E.g. JP Morgan Chase ‘Blueprint for Diversity and Inclusion’ toolkit including self-assessment tool.
  • School and graduate outreach, encouraging the uptake of STEM subjects by girls in school and giving insights to the industry for current students.
    • E.g. Morgan Stanley ‘Step In, Step Up’ programme.
  • Setting internal targets.
    • E.g. Lloyds Banking Group committed to increase the proportion of senior management roles held by women to 40% by 2020 as part of their Helping Britain Prosper Plan.
    • E.g. RBS has set a target for at least 30% of its top three leadership layers (c.800 roles) to be held by women by 2020.
  • Providing structured programmes to mothers returning to work after a career break to bring up children.
    • E.g. Credit Suisse ‘Real Returns’ initiative to help mothers who are returning to the bank after time at home raising children.
  • Focus on internal progression and promotion to develop diverse senior leadership teams which better reflect society.
    • E.g. HSBC’s ASPIRE programme, which offers coaching, mentoring and networking and the Balance Employee Network with 30,000 members across 25 branches globally.

Notes to editors

  • For follow up enquiries, please contact the BBA Press Office 020 7216 8989
  • Diversity is symptomatic of a well-run company, which feeds through to positive performance. A McKinsey & Co report suggested that a 10 per cent improvement in the representation of women at senior management level produced 3.5 per cent increase in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) – the same change at board level drove a 4.9 per cent increase.