Lloyds sets 2020 non-white leadership target in FTSE 100 first

(c) Sky News 2018: <a href="http://news.sky.com/story/lloyds-sets-2020-non-white-leadership-target-in-ftse-100-first-11247859">Lloyds sets 2020 non-white leadership target in FTSE 100 first</a>
 

Britain's biggest high street lender has become the first FTSE 100 company to set a formal target for the number of non-white employees employed in senior posts.

The announcement, confirming an exclusive story by Sky News, means Lloyds Banking Group is targeting 8% of its top 7,000 staff to be identified as black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) by 2020.

It forms part of the group's 2018 Helping Britain Prosper Plan - to be published alongside its annual results later this month - which will aim to address "some of the biggest social and economic issues facing Britain today".

The wider initiative is expected to include new goals in areas such as lending to small and medium sized businesses.

Lloyds' 8% target for BAME representation in senior ranks is likely to mean appointing roughly 150 more people from ethnic minority backgrounds to leadership roles by the end of the decade.

It has also said that it wants 10% of its total workforce of about 70,000 to be from BAME backgrounds by 2020.

The bank, whose brands include Halifax and Scottish Widows, currently employs 5.6% of senior managers who are BAME, with 8.3% of its overall employee base non-white.

Those figures compare to 12%‎ of the existing UK labour force and 14% of the total population who are from ethnic minorities.

Fiona Cannon, Lloyds Banking Group director of responsible business and inclusion, said: "We recognise that companies with diverse management teams perform better and have made a public commitment to create a truly inclusive workforce.

"It is our ambition to better reflect the customers and communities which we serve.

"Our data shows that while we are making good progress, we think this rate of progress is too slow, so we are committing to bring change sooner."

Sources have told Sky News that Antonio Horta-Osorio, Lloyds' chief executive, was determined to establish a meaningful objective for ethnic diversity at a time when workplace discrimination of many kinds is attracting enormous political and public‎ scrutiny.

Lloyds' target is a voluntary one, and the numbers are likely to be skewed by any headcount reductions which take place during the three-year strategic plan for the bank that Mr Horta-Osorio will announce at the time of its results.

Its decision to set targets for the proportion of BAME ‎employees follows an objective outlined in 2013 that 40% of senior managers should be female by 2020.

The figure now stands at above 34%, while‎ one-third of its nine non-executive board members - although none of its three executive directors - are women.

Royal Bank of Scotland (LSE: RBS.L - news) followed up Lloyds' announcement by releasing targets it set internally in December.

It plans to more than triple the representation of non-white people in leadership roles from 4% to 14% by 2025.

Targets for BAME representation in the upper echelons of British companies have only recently begun to emerge.

A review by Sir John Parker, the boardroom grandee who chairs water company Pennon, concluded in 2016 that FTSE 100 companies should have at least one non-white board member by 2021.

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