Rachel Osikoya, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, gives an update on our gender equality journey

Rachel Osikoya
Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
08 March 2024
6 min read

I recently joined Lloyds Banking Group as Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – a position I’m proud to hold, especially at an organisation so committed to becoming a leader in gender equality and inclusion more broadly. 

In 2014, the Group was the first FTSE 100 company to set a target to have more women in senior management roles. This saw us advance from 28% in 2014, to 40.1% at the end of 2023. But although we’ve made much progress, we continue to push to improve gender diversity and attract and retain talented women. 

Afterall, with diversity of thought comes huge advantages, both for business and for society in general. This, in turn, means we can continue to transform the Group for the better – creating tailored products that reflect society.

We’re improving gender diversity at the top of our organisation

As part of our commitment to improve diversity, we’re proud to co-sponsor the FTSE Women Leaders Review with KPMG. The report focuses on voluntary, business-led targets to increase the representation of women on boards and in leadership across UK businesses.

The recommendations set out by the Review are for FTSE 350 Boards and Leadership teams to have a minimum of 40% women represented by the end of 2025, and for FTSE 350 companies to have at least one woman in the Chair or Senior Independent Director role on the Board, and/or one woman in the CEO or Finance Director role by the end of 2025.

It's fantastic to see that we’ve met all these recommendations two years ahead of the target deadline. And this year for the first time, we have entered the top 10 rankings for FTSE 100 companies for Women on Boards and Executive Leadership. The Group has progressed from 73rd place in 2017, to 5th place in 2023, increasing representation of women on our Board from 23.1% to 45.5%, and women in executive leadership from 24.8% to 46.9%.

This, combined with the fact that the Group is the highest ranked Bank in the FTSE 100, and the only Bank in the top ten, shows our commitment to attracting and retaining talented women. 

"At the time of writing, women make up


of our executive leadership population"

Encouraging more women into data and technology roles

Data and technology are key skills growth areas for us, and where we, and the wider market, are seeing the largest gaps in representation. Currently, within the Group, women make up nearly 30% of our tech and data roles, and we are committed to increasing this.

We’re delighted to partner with The Tech Talent Charter – an industry-led membership group backed by the UK Government that combines over 700 signatory organisations. These companies employ around 980,000 people, 230,000 of whom work in tech. This year’s Diversity in Tech Report found that, at the time of writing, 29% of tech employees are women. Moreover, just over 20% of senior tech leaders are women too, so it’s important that we continue to nurture and attract more talented women in the tech industry.

It’s for this reason that we also work with Women in Data and Coding Black Females to help us attract outstanding talent, build a stronger community of women tech and data practitioners, host events and shine a spotlight on the amazing talent we already have at the Group. 

And last year, we worked with Code First Girls to help us draw more women into our graduate and apprenticeship schemes, resulting in 44% of our data graduates, 38% of our tech graduates and 43% of our tech and data apprenticeships being women. And we recently ran a hackathon to generate and develop innovative ideas to retain and attract gender diverse tech talent.

"This year’s Diversity in Tech Report found that, at the time of writing 29% of tech employees are women."

Flexible working at Lloyds Banking Group

We know that everyone can benefit from greater flexibility. So all our colleagues have access to a range of different flexibility offerings, including everyday flexibility, flexible bank holidays and access to compressed working. 

At the time of writing, 14,600 of our colleagues work reduced hours, over 40,000 have access to hybrid working and all our internal roles are advertised as available for job sharing too. 

Flexibility for families

However our employees want to build a family, we want to be by their sides, offering IVF fertility support, maternity or adoption and kinship leave, foster care, premature birth leave, shared parental and paternity leave. Plus, they can take advantage of our award winning Returners Opportunities, open to anyone who has been on a career break.

We’re committed to providing menopause support to anyone who needs it

More than half of our colleagues are women and around 30% are over 40. They should be able talk about menopause and seek support when they need it without feeling uncomfortable.

In 2021, we launched an initiative to provide more menopause support to our colleagues and to help our line managers to speak confidently within their teams. The scheme includes enhanced medical support and care, access to Bupa’s dedicated menopause helpline, an online hub, and access to a private internal community where colleagues can share their experiences with others.

We’ve experienced a major cultural shift as we continue to remove the taboo around menopause and support all our colleagues to be menopause aware and informed. We became independently menopause friendly accredited in 2022 and are immensely proud of this achievement. 



Our gender commitments

We've committed to becoming a leader in gender diversity. We recognise that companies with proportionate gender diversity see increased performance, and make better decisions.

Find out more about our gender commitments

Support through our women’s network – Breakthrough

Our Breakthrough network continues to support the development of our colleagues with c.10,000 members. Breakthrough regularly runs events to support colleagues in fulfilling their career potential. Some recent examples include a 12-week programme to help with personal and career development, events to bring to life what it’s like to work in tech, and a series of senior role model events, often working with our other colleague networks to ensure intersectionality.

We also recognise that people may identify differently, and we want everyone to be able to bring their whole self to work.  Breakthrough has joined up with our other colleague networks to raise awareness and ensure that our approach and our support is available to all.

Creating a more inclusive and sustainable future

There’s no doubt that embracing diversity creates fuller discussions, improves decision-making and makes for a better working environment. And there is no shortage of talented women. A gender inclusive organisation offers different perspectives which creates innovation, new opportunities, and increased productivity – this is especially important at a time of socio-economic complexity.

We recognise that a focus on gender equality alone won’t make us inclusive. That’s why we take a holistic approach to making sure all our people are supported to thrive and bring their best in service of our customers, because we have a workforce that’s representative of them.

For me, inclusion must be woven into everything we do, every decision we make and every process and product we design – one example being Beat the Gap, a new tool launched by Scottish Widows this week to show women (and men) how the gender pension gap emerges, offer tailored tips and opportunities to improve their pension outcomes.

As we undergo the UK’s largest financial services transformation, we’ll continue to build on our blueprint for gender equality and embed inclusion into our business strategy, striving to make Lloyds Banking Group a place where everyone loves to work and that is truly helping our customers in the right way. 

Find out more about how we're helping women in the workplace

About the author Rachel Osikoya

Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Rachel has over 20 years of experience in Culture, Diversity and Inclusion. Most recently, she led a global team to deliver a transformative DE&I strategy to over 25,000 colleagues in 70 countries at the London Stock Exchange.

Prior to this, she was the Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion for Maersk, developing a D&I strategy which empowered colleagues to own its D&I agenda to drive greater accountability. Rachel has also held roles at Standard Bank, Barclays Capital, BT plc and as a lay member of the Equality and Diversity Committee for the Bar Standards Board.

Follow Rachel on LinkedIn.

Rachel's background Read less

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