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 female representation at Board level is 27% (2018 : 23%). Our Board is small, relative to our whole organisation and opportunities to recruit are infrequent. All Board appointments are based on merit against objective criteria, the skills and experience of the Board as a whole and with regard to the benefits of diversity. Through our Board Diversity policy, we are certain that we have the practices in place which are gender neutral and support recruitment of the best candidate. We are confident when the opportunities arise to recruit, we will make positive progress towards our target.
We have achieved and maintained our target for the number of women in our senior cohort (33%). We have undertaken a number of activities to develop our talent pipeline of women and have grown the number in this cohort. We have continued to invest in the Women Ahead mentoring programme, actively supported by our senior leaders and providing the opportunity, to date, for 19 women to receive external mentoring. We are now extending this offering further through an internal programme.
We have an executive sponsored Gender Diversity Forum which has engaged with colleagues to focus on targeted activities through engagement and education to support our gender diversity approach. We have provided Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training for all colleagues. In addition, we have further developed and promoted our suite of flexible working practices to support women in the workplace.
We will continue our efforts to increase the number of women in senior positions in our organisation, supported by our Diversity & Inclusion strategy. We were pleased our achievements to date, in the area of diversity and inclusion, were recognised by the National Centre for Diversity in 2019, with 2 awards recognising our efforts and deliverables.
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.