Supporting the Women in Finance Charter
Steven Pickering, Chief Risk Officer, The Co-operative Bank
"As a Bank defined by its distinctive values and ethics, The Co-operative Bank is delighted to commit to this target, which we think is realistic and will deliver change within our organisation. We will be putting in place clear measures to help us deliver this 2020 target and will also seek to exceed this target if possible, beyond 2020. The Charter helps improve opportunities and progression for women and ensuring that talent rises to the top in the finance sector regardless of gender."
About the Charter
The Women in Finance Charter commits financial services firms to supporting the progression of women into senior management by focussing on developing existing colleagues with the potential to progress, setting public targets for improving gender diversity in senior management roles; and requiring firms to publicly report on progress to deliver against these internal targets to support the transparency and accountability needed to drive change.
The Charter was developed following a joint report, Empowering Productivity: Harnessing the Talents of Women in Financial Services, by HM Treasury and Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money, on increasing opportunities for women in the financial services sector to improve gender equality.
Further information about the Charter can be found here.
Our commitment to gender diversity
The history of The Co-operative Bank demonstrates its strong roots supporting gender equality. The bank was formed to support the co-operative movement and reflect the values and ethics of that cause, the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society welcomed women to join, 80 years before women were given the right to vote in parliamentary elections.
While we recognise that there is still more work to do, our current progress on gender diversity across the Bank is:
- At present 59% of the Bank's total employees are female and around 360 managers (51%) are women.
- Our Executive Management Team is 27% female and two (17%) of the Co-operative Bank’s Board members are female. Click here for our Board Diversity Policy.
- At present 32% of our senior managers, including our executive team and most senior leadership positions are female, and it is against this measure that we will measure our progress as part of the Charter.
Alongside the Charter the Bank is also taking a number of other steps to improve gender diversity including:
- The Bank has a dedicated women’s career network; Elevate, championed by the senior leadership team of the business and driven by passionate employees.
- We are committed to publishing gender pay information as part of our 2017 annual reporting process.
- We have refreshed our diversity and inclusion mandatory training modules for all colleagues including launching a new Unconscious Bias e-learning module to all colleagues in 2016.
- We held a number of events to raise colleague diversity and inclusion awareness during National Inclusion Week in September.
Further information about our work to improve diversity and inclusion can be found in our annual Values and Ethics report
Our commitments under the Charter
How we will meet this pledge
Having one member of our senior executive team who is responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion;
We have appointed Steven Pickering, Chief Risk Officer of the Bank, as our Executive Committee member accountable for gender diversity and inclusion, ensuring that it is embedded in the most senior leadership of the Bank
Setting internal targets for gender diversity in our senior management;
We are aiming for 40% female representation in senior management roles by 2020, an 8% increase on our 2016 baseline of 32%.
Publishing progress annually against these targets in reports on our website;
The Bank will publish progress on this webpage in September every year.
Having an intention to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to delivery against these internal targets on gender diversity.
It is intended that all Senior Executives' pay includes alignement to the Bank's commitment to diversity. This will be achieved by the inclusion of diversity targets, amongst of course other targets, in the Long Term Incentive Measures, as part of our people objectives, from the 2016 award onwards. Additionally, we will be incorporating targets into individual Executive objectives from 2017 performance year.
How we will meet our targets
In order to meet our ambitions under the Charter, we will take the following actions.
Recruitment and promotion
- All vacancies, including senior roles, to continue to be advertised internally as well as externally for at least a period of two weeks.
- Senior vacancies to be circulated to those identified as ‘high potential’ in our senior management group and, where appropriate, flagged to female colleagues’ coaches to support with considering any promotions.
- Unconscious bias e-learning module to be launched to all leaders and recruiters in October 2016.
- Clear guidelines made available for our recruiters to ensure pro-active focus on attracting women (and wider diversity groups) applicants.
- All senior management longlists to be 50:50 female to male from October 2016 and interview panels to also have gender diversity
- Talent Management focus to identify rising stars in our junior managerial roles and support development and promotion.
Pay and performance
- On-going monitoring and evaluation of the difference in average awards being paid to male and female colleagues.
- Performance management moderation will continue to focus on ensuring a robust challenge of performance ratings across the Bank to ensure equality of our how male and female colleagues are assessed.
Working environment (including flexibility), support and development to ensure we equip women to do their senior management role
- The Bank will continue to promote its flexible working policies to all colleagues including, sharing of success stories across the Bank with particular focus on senior management working flexibility to aid advocacy.
- Introduction of a Bank-wide mentoring scheme from January 2017 with particular emphasis on encouraging women to participate.
- Introduction of Bank-wide maternity coaching in 2016 to help women return to work and continue in their careers.
- Introduction of a Talent Management focus for high potential roles across the Bank, with particular focus on women.
- Introduce some additional support for women as part of our Talent Management process including a focus on confidence, business acumen and their career development.
- Continue to harness the enthusiasm and commitment of our Elevate, Women’s Network to help the Bank focus on all of this work.