We believe that the diversity of our people, including but not limited to gender, strengthens our leadership team and, therefore, the effectiveness of its independence, judgement and decision making. In support of this, we've developed a Diversity and Inclusion strategy, with an ambition ‘to have an inclusive culture, which enables colleagues with a diverse range of skills, experiences, backgrounds and opinions to flourish, without barriers’.
Women in Finance
We are committed to increasing the representation of women. To do this, we set ourselves 2 targets:
Board: 33% female representation by 2021.
Senior Management team (top 3 levels of management excluding Board) - 33% female representation by 2021.
Our representation of women at Board level remains at 23%. Through our Board Diversity Policy, we are confident that we will make positive progress to our target, when opportunities to recruit onto our Board arise.
We have maintained our representation of women in our senior management cohort at target level, with an improved picture of females in the talent pipeline that supports this.
Through our Diversity & Inclusion strategy, we have delivered a number of actions supporting gender diversity, with particular focus on developing our female talent pipeline into senior level positions. We implemented a Gender Diversity Forum, which is delivering on a number of key initiatives, including identifying and addressing gender specific barriers to progression and to promote the gender diversity agenda through education and engagement. This work is sponsored by the Executive with accountability for gender diversity.
We have continued to invest in the Women Ahead mentoring programme, actively supported by our Senior Leaders.
All our colleagues have received unconscious bias training and we have taken steps to enhance our recruitment and selection processes, to ensure they are free from bias.
We are pleased that we are the first financial services company to achieve Leaders in Diversity status, awarded by the National Centre for Diversity, reflecting our focus and commitment to diversity overall. We are pleased to see an improvement in the representation of women in our senior management talent pipeline this year and the number of women who achieved promotions. We recognise that there is still work to do and we will continue to ensure that this momentum is maintained.
All our Executive Directors have a personal diversity objective, as part of their annual bonus schemes.
Our Board Diversity Policy
Leeds Building Society firmly believes in the importance of a diverse Board membership, in its broadest sense and promotes an inclusive culture across the organisation, in line with our Values. We believe the diversity of skills, experience, backgrounds, opinions and other distinctions including gender and race strengthens the capability of the Board and, therefore, the effectiveness of its independence, judgement and decision making.
All Board appointments will be based on merit against objective criteria, the skills and experience of the Board as a whole and with regard to the benefits of diversity.
The Nominations Committee reviews and assesses Board composition on behalf of the Board on an annual basis and recommends the appointment of Directors. The Committee also oversees the conduct of the annual review of Board effectiveness.
The Nominations Committee will agree, annually, the measureable objectives for Board diversity and recommend them to the Board for adoption. Currently, the objectives are to:
- proactively aim for, and sustain, female representation of 33%, both on the Board and in the top three layers of our Senior Management Team (excluding the Board) by 2021
- only engage executive search firms which have signed up to the voluntary Code of Conduct for gender diversity and best practice. External advertising to be considered as part of the attraction methods utilised
- provide enhanced disclosure on the Board appointment process and the consideration of diversity as part of the board evaluation process.
The Nominations Committee will report annually in the corporate governance section of the Leeds Building Society Accounts on the agreed objectives and the progress against these objectives and other initiatives taking place which promote gender and other forms of diversity.