Reflecting on our journey towards gender inclusion.

Fiona Cannon
Group Director, Sustainable Business
29 April 2021
4 min read

We’ve been recognised as a Times Top 50 Employer for Women for the tenth consecutive year.

As one of the UK’s biggest employers, I think this is something we should be expected to achieve, rather than something we need to celebrate. That’s not to say that there hasn’t been a lot of hard work and progress made in relation to gender inclusion over the past decade.

This news had made me pause and take stock. What have we learnt? What can we be proud of? What is there still to do?

Like everything else, what we do and how we do it has been massively challenged and shifted by the coronavirus pandemic. External research shows that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women in work and leaving work.

 

As lockdowns begin to ease again, what lessons can we take forward as Britain’s recovery begins?
 

Ways of working that work for everyone

Working in a flexible and agile way is something we’ve been focused on within the Group for a number of years and pre-pandemic 35% of us already worked in a flexible way.

We know that it’s important for colleagues to be able to thrive in work while being able to do everything they want to do in their personal life.

So when the pandemic meant that 50,000 of our colleagues had to work from home, we were fortunate that we had the policies, processes and, most importantly, culture already in place to help with this transition.

We also knew that many of our colleagues would have to juggle more outside of work, while dealing with the emotional stress and worry of the pandemic. We ensured all our messaging from across the Group was clear: if you need to take time away from work, do it, let us know and we’ll do our best to support you.

I’m pleased to say that, 91% of our people told us that they feel positive about managing their work and personal commitments, feeling supported and connected to each other was key to this. For parents, 94% have said they are able to be flexible/agile in the way they work to meet their personal/family needs.

As Britain’s focus now looks to recovery, we want to make sure that this remains part of our DNA. 
 

Around 95% of new job vacancies are now advertised as agile, compared to a national average of 12%.

Setting gender diversity targets

The single, most transformative action we took was to set a target.

Targets signal intent and commitment and provide a focus. When we set ourselves the ambitious goal of increasing the number of women in senior management positions to 40% by 2020, we were the first FTSE100 company to do so.

At the time, we didn’t have all the answers to how this would be met but it helped signal to our colleagues, leaders and the outside world that this was something we were taking seriously.

Recently, we met the target of the Hampton-Alexander Review with 33% women in the combined Executive Committee and direct report population, and 33% women on the Board.

Although we still have some work do before we meet this target (37% of women are currently in senior management), we have made great strides.

This year, we’ve set new aspirations for a leadership team that reflects the society we serve, with 50% of women and 13% of colleagues of Black, Asian and Minority heritage (including 3% Black specifically) in senior roles in the next five years.
 

Developing clear paths to leadership

Female representation in senior roles has increased through a mixture of external and internal activity.

One of the programmes I’m most proud of is our Women in Leadership programme, which has led to 45% of colleagues who’ve taken part achieving a promotion within two years. When the pandemic hit, the delivery of this programme was at risk but the team worked tirelessly to adapt all the sessions to be delivered virtually.
 

84% of female line managers said they feel able to achieve their career aspirations at Lloyds Banking Group.

Ensuring gender inclusion is at the heart of recovery

Our data signals that we are doing some things well – in 2020, our attrition rate for female senior managers was 5.2%, compared to 7.1% for men.

But, we aren’t perfect. There is much more that can be done.

While we have reduced the mean Gender Pay Gap in 2020 to 30.5%, a pay gap still exists. We must also continue to increase female representation in senior roles, this will be critical to ongoing progress.

We’ve heard from our Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic colleagues who face their own set of unique challenges. With our Race Action Plan, we’ll look to address these.

We’re at a vital juncture in the world. As vaccination programmes begin to have an impact, we can start to think about life outside of the pandemic. But what lessons can we take forward?

The pandemic has shown how we can work in a different, blended way, allowing us to choose the location which is right for the task and meet the needs of our colleagues, customers and business in a more effective and dynamic way.

We remain ambitious and vigorous in our Inclusion & Diversity plans, after all they form a central part of our Helping Britain Recover strategy and clearly signal what a modern company looks like. 

 

Helping Britain Recover

The global pandemic will have lasting social and economic effects on the UK. Its impact has been felt by everyone, whether through financial hardship, reduced choices, mental distress or personal loss.

Given our unique position at the heart of the UK economy, our focus is on Helping Britain Recover.

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