Our current priority areas of focus

Our work on diversity and inclusion is wide-ranging and comprehensive. Our priority areas of focus for the coming year and beyond are summarised below under 4 themes.

Data and transparency

We launched an extensive diversity and inclusion dashboard in September 2017, capturing gender and ethnicity data across all divisions at all grades. It tracks data such as application to hire rates, turnover, acting-up opportunities, employee survey feedback and internal development programmes. It allows us to look at data trends and drives focused positive action. Drawing on expertise from colleagues in our Behavioural Economics and Design Unit, we’re further evolving the dashboard to: develop a simplified ‘red-amber-green’ status which incorporates statistical significance; highlight trends in progress or deterioration; and automatically highlight, by Division, where we should focus positive action. 

We’ll bring more granularity to our ethnicity data – breaking down the grouping of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) people in our pay gap data, diversity data dashboard data and recruitment data. 

We’ll expand our gender and ethnicity targets beyond the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) – introducing targets at Manager, Technical Specialist and Senior Associate level. Improving our mix in these areas is vital, not least because these are pipeline roles for senior leadership.

On pay, we’ll continue to sample and test salary distributions at appointment, and compare performance ratings, pay and bonus amounts at annual pay review, by protected characteristics. Through robust moderation and challenge, we will make sure salary offers, progressions and performance outcomes are fair and unbiased.

We’ll seek to improve declaration rates on disability, so that we have a more accurate picture of our challenges and areas where we need to target action. 

Talent pipeline and progression

We’ll continue to take forward our resourcing strategy which recognises the importance of diverse teams and aims to bring together inclusive recruitment practices to deliver the right solutions for us. Our main objectives are to:

  • create a level playing field for diverse talent by removing barriers
  • challenge and support hiring managers’ decision making from the start of the process through to assessment and offer (eg job description design, considering non-traditional routes, assessment design)
  • use data insights to inform action and drive better outcomes.

As part of our resourcing strategy we’ll be trialling the use of diverse panels, making use of more moderation across the organisation, sharing recruitment questions in advance and continuing to challenge non-diverse shortlists. Where we use recruitment agencies, their understanding of diversity and inclusion will continue to be key in our selection criteria, and we use a gender decoder to make sure job descriptions are not gender biased.

We’ll also build on our progress to date in diversifying our graduate scheme cohorts, and continue to deliver our apprenticeship programme, with a strong emphasis on social mobility. Our outreach work aimed at elevating employability skills within our local community will continue, together with our flagship community engagement programme, Inspiring Futures, which sees us working with three Newham schools, again with a focus on social mobility. 

We’ll continually develop and promote a range of career support and flexible working options, including part-time working, that are open to all, not just those with caring responsibilities. We know from our employee engagement survey and other feedback that this is highly valued. The new technology and ways of working we introduced as part of the move of our London headquarters to Stratford in 2018 has further improved our ability to work more flexibly and allowed us to respond to the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis in an agile and flexible way. Our approach to flexible working is a key consideration as we move through the crisis into a new normal.

We’ll be developing a more objective, transparent and inclusive approach to talent reviews and making better use of acting-up opportunities in development. 

We’ll continue our BAME sponsorship programme, which is now in its second year, to help us develop a talent pipeline to build on progress to date against our BAME target.

Our gender network, Balance, is continuing to support more women to progress into Technical Specialist roles.

Training and support

Diversity and inclusion will continue to form a key component of our management and leadership training.

This year we’re also introducing a suite of training covering privilege, microaggressions and bystander intervention. This, coupled with the development of a focused ally strategy and toolkits to support managers, will help all our colleagues to be active allies and champions for change.

Mental and physical health, particularly in the context of the coronavirus crisis, remains an area of focus. Following the results of an organisation-wide wellbeing survey, led by our Embrace network, we’re going to continuously improve our processes to make sure colleagues with physical and mental health challenges can easily access the support they need, that they’re treated fairly and that everyone feels comfortable asking for help.

This builds on a comprehensive programme of work delivered during Mental Health Awareness month in May which addressed three key strands: reducing stigma through senior leadership storytelling; spotlights on specific mental health challenges and themes (such as anxiety, sleep, bereavement and resilience); and support for colleagues (including meditation, mindfulness, and guides to available support services).

Accountability

Our diversity and inclusion objective at Manager, Technical Specialist and SLT level is an important part of our accountability framework. This means our work on diversity and inclusion is a core component of our management and leadership roles. With bonus payments based on individual performance against objectives, the link between performance and pay is clear.

Each year our Executive Diversity Committee holds a challenge session with our Executive to make sure they’re taking personal responsibility for progress – and our comprehensive diversity and inclusion data dashboard allows us to measure progress and hold our SLT to account. The Board also plays a key role in holding the organisation to account – and our Chair and Non-Executive Directors (NEDs) provide robust challenge on diversity and inclusion.

We commit to keeping accountability embedded right across the organisation.

We’re also increasing our focus on our role as a regulator. Find out more about why diversity and inclusion matter in financial services.