Britain’s biggest domestic bank Lloyds has set a target to increase the number of Black staff in senior roles to at least 3% by 2025 from just 0.6% now.
The bank declared just yesterday that it was about to introduce a ‘Race Action Plan’ after listening to Black employees across the business following the Black Lives Matter protests.
The bank said it would publish an ethnicity pay gap report later in the year and was setting up a new advisory board made up of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff to inform its diversity strategy.
As part of Lloyds’ seven-point action plan, the bank added that it would work with external experts to develop a race education programme and organise regular “listening sessions” to gauge staff experiences.
Antonio Horta-Osorio, the outgoing CEO of Lloyds, declared: “The commitments we are making will not fix the issues overnight, and targets and measures will only take us so far, but we have to challenge ourselves to do better and I am fully committed that we will do so.”
The plan will help ensure there is more diverse pool of candidates to replace the outgoing chief executive, António Horta-Osório, who will step down next year after a decade at the helm.
Currently, the bank only employs about 40 black staff across its 7,000-strong senior management team. The pledge will raise that total to about 210 staff and help reflect the proportion of black workers across the wider UK labour market.
Black people make up about 3.3% of the total population of England and Wales but hold only 1.5% of the 3.7m leadership positions across the UK’s wider public and private sectors in 2019, according to Business in the Community.
Horta-Osório claimed: “A more inclusive society is a more prosperous society, and a diverse business is a better business.
“It is clear that achieving an inclusive environment for everyone is our priority but right now we have very specific challenges that we have to address urgently for our black colleagues. Feedback has provided a clear way forward and, as a start, we have established an immediate action plan which focuses on culture, recruitment and progression.”
The focus on black management builds on Lloyds’ broader BAME target set in 2018, which aims to result in non-white staff making up 10% of the total workforce and 8% of senior managers by the end of 2020. The bank has already reached the workforce target of 10.3% of its 63,000 staff but has hit only 7.3% on the senior staff target. Those targets will be reviewed at the end of the year.
Horta-Osório said: “This is just the beginning. The commitments we are making will not fix the issues overnight, and targets and measures will only take us so far, but we have to challenge ourselves to do better and I am fully committed that we will do so.”