Lloyds to bolster number of women in senior rolesMarch 2014
Lloyds, the UK banking group, has promised that within six years 40% of its 8,000 senior employees will be women, up from the present 28%.
It is the first UK FTSE 100 company to set a formal target for placing women in senior positions.
The group has made the announcement as FTSE 100 companies are being urged to ensure that a quarter of their directors are women or face legally binding quotas. Another threat to impose quotas has been made by the EU.
Lloyds’ resolve is accompanied by a commitment to annual goals for lending to small and medium-sized businesses and first-time home-buyers.
António Horta-Osório, Lloyds’ chief executive, said: “Rebuilding a sound reputation founded on the highest standards of responsible behaviour is key to the industry’s long-term success. But words alone are not enough to change public perception and regain trust.
“We must be able to provide meaningful commitments and allow ourselves to be independently measured against those.”
Fiona Cannon, Lloyds’ diversity and inclusion director, said: “Creating an organisation that is meritocratic is good for everyone, not just for women.”
Vince Cable, the UK business secretary, observed: “Too few women occupy the top positions of our companies today. Yet the evidence is clear – those businesses with diverse senior management make better decisions, and that is reflected on the bottom line. This is not about political correctness. This is about good and profitable business sense.”
However, Ruth Lea, an economist and director of the London-based Arbuthnot Banking Group, warned: “I don’t think positive discrimination is the best way forward for women. It breathes tokenism and suggests that somehow women cannot make it on their own merits.”
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