Diversity, equity and inclusion

Diversity, equity and inclusion are central to how we act, as an employer and a regulator.

Our message is clear: whether you’re the regulator or a regulated firm, diversity matters. A diversity of perspectives and thought, when part of an inclusive culture, results in better judgements and decision making in the public interest. It reduces the risk of groupthink and encourages innovation.

As a regulator, we are taking steps to address the negative impact that inequalities and lack of inclusion has within financial services. We are prompting the firms we regulate to do more, and faster, to improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) within their workforces. 

Our ambition is to ensure the financial system is able to support the economy through well-run firms and sound financial markets that can meet the diverse needs of their consumers. 

As an employer, we are committed to reflecting the diverse lived experiences of the communities in which we work and the consumers we protect. 

We aim to address societal and cultural imbalances in our workplace to deliver fair and equitable outcomes for our people. We strive to create a culture of inclusion and belonging and take top-to-bottom accountability for progress against our DEI aims. 

As a public body, we are subject to the requirements of the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) This means we must look for ways to eliminate discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share protected characteristics, and those who do not.

Diversity, equity and inclusion strategy

In 2021, we committed to reviewing our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) strategy for the three years from 2022/23. In October 2021, our Executive Committee approved an evidence-based approach to the strategy review involving four core elements:  

  • internal data analysis 
  • external empirical studies 
  • stakeholder views and engagement 
  • practitioner professional expertise 

Using this as a basis, we started the strategy review by undertaking a comprehensive analysis of around 260 items of evidence relating to DEI at the FCA and external industry insights. Each item of evidence was reviewed and key issues and insights identified, categorised and impact rated.

Priorities and outcomes

Out of this analysis, we developed four priorities for our new DEI strategy: 

  • Diversity: We promote diversity of thought and we reflect the diverse lived experiences of the communities in which we work and consumers we protect 
  • Equity: We acknowledge that we don’t all start from the same place and that we need to make adjustments to address imbalances and deliver fair and equitable outcomes for our people 
  • Inclusion: We have an inclusive culture where our people experience psychological safety and feel like they belong 
  • Personal leadership and accountability: We are all accountable for delivering and embedding our DEI strategy and our PSED obligations 

Each of these priorities have three outcomes, which illustrate where we want to be at the end of the three-year strategy, and each of the outcomes has specific measures to track our progress.

Our interventions

From the analysis, we also identified 13 focus areas where we want to improve and, against which, we’ve developed 12 interventions to improve performance. We’ve consulted with our diversity networks, corporate divisional DEI working groups and other key stakeholders on all our strategy proposals.

Our focus for the year ahead is to rebuild our DEI data dashboard with improved functionality and better insights and begin delivery of this refreshed DEI strategy, leading by example, continuing to transform our own organisation for the better and taking definitive action. 

Reflecting on what we’ve achieved already and what we plan to do next, we look forward to continuing our work to nurture a workplace environment where everyone can bring their authentic selves to work, feel valued, fulfil their potential and contribute meaningfully to our outcomes.

Our work in DEI

All aspects of diversity are important to us. This includes in the context of the nine protected characteristics, as well as diversity of experience, background and working style. 

We believe diversity of perspectives and thought delivers better judgements and better decision-making in the public interest. We’re also increasingly focused on our role in diversity and inclusion within financial services as a regulator. 

As part of our focus on gender and leading by example, we signed the Women in Finance Charter in June 2016 and set targets for both gender diversity, and race and ethnicity at senior levels in the FCA. 

We’re working hard to become a truly diverse and inclusive organisation, and we need to maintain momentum, making further progress to recruit and retain the best diverse talent and improve the balance in diversity of our people at all levels of the organisation. 

We continue  to ensure our internal policies and practices address under-representation and to equip line managers with the tools they need to take positive action through the employee lifecycle and in everyday leadership actions.

Our network groups

Our commitment doesn’t just come from the top; it’s shaped by our people through our network groups. Making the organisation more dynamic and effective, these networks cover the full range of diversity considerations:

  • physical and mental health 
  • LGBT+
  • gender
  • race and ethnicity
  • nationality
  • faith
  • social mobility
  • carers and parents. 

They provide peer-to-peer connection and support to those with shared lived experiences and identities, and raise awareness of the issues and experiences that affect our different demographics. They also promote positive change and DEI progress by advising on relevant corporate policies and initiatives, and consulting and challenging the organisation.   

Our networks are increasingly focused on intersectionality, working closely together in recognition that aspects of a person’s identity combine to create unique modes of discrimination and privilege. Such work led to the formation of a Multi-Ethnic Women’s Group.

Our divisions are engaged in local initiatives to build an inclusive culture. Each division has its own local diversity and inclusion working groups, or champions, who drive progress at a local level.

Close links with the wider community and the consumers we protect are vital to helping us become a better regulator. For this reason, our community engagement work aligns directly with our work on diversity, equity and inclusion.

Our achievements

Social mobility is at the forefront of our minds now more than ever, with societal inequalities exacerbated by the pandemic. We were ranked 27th in the 2020 Social Mobility Employer Index (SMEI), retaining a strong position within this key benchmarking initiative, operated by the Social Mobility Foundation. 

We didn’t take part in the 2021 Index but remain committed to driving forward social mobility in our organisation. We submitted again to the 2022 Social Mobility Employer Index and expect results in summer 2022.

In 2020, we were one of eight organisations to participate in the Bridge Group Report ‘Who gets ahead, and how?’ examining the relationship between socio-economic background and progression in the financial services industry.

Alongside publishing our gender pay gap, we continue to provide an increased level of transparency, publishing our ethnicity pay gaps and disability pay gaps, despite there being no legal requirement to report these. We believe that data transparency drives positive action.

We ranked 83rd in Stonewall’s 2022 LGBT+ Workplace Equality Index. The Index is a benchmarking tool used by employers to assess their achievements and progress on LGBT+ equality in the workplace, as well as their wider work in the community and on service provision. We were recognised with a Gold Award signifying our delivery above a key threshold of LGBT+ inclusion work. 

In addition, our LGBT+ employee network, InsideOut, was named an LGBT+ Employee Network Group of the Year by Stonewall, in recognition of their work to support LGBT+ communities here and further afield. 

In the 2022 National Undergraduate Employability (NUE) Awards we were ranked 67th in the Rate My Placement Best 100 student employers. The awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of employers, agencies, students and universities in undergraduate work experience across the UK. We were also rated 100th in the TargetJobs UK 300 Top Graduate Employers, moving up 7 places from the previous year. 

You can read more about our diversity and inclusion strategy and the actions we’ve taken in our Diversity Annual Report 2021/22.

Page updates

19/07/2022: Information changed Updated in line with Diversity Annual Report 2021/22
10/06/2022: Editorial amendment Right hand navigation updated.
15/07/2021: Information changed Updates following our Annual Report 2020/21.