Lloyds Banking Group announced this week that it will aim to fill 40% of senior roles with women by 2020.
The bank said the plan would ensure it was more representative of customer diversity. Currently women hold 28% of the employer’s 5,000 senior jobs.
"Despite good progress since 2010, we are still not tapping into the talents of half the workforce,” business secretary Vince Cable said. “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."
The move to improve diversity is part of a group-wide programme called "Helping Britain Prosper," which also focuses on increasing the bank’s lending to small and medium sized businesses, support for 80,000 first time buyers this year and payments totaling C$180 million to charities between now and 2020.
"The reputational impact of the financial crisis upon the banking industry’s stature has been immense,” bank CEO António Horta-Osório. “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.”
Canadian companies have stalled with 25% of senior manager positions held by women. This number has barely increased from 22% in 2004. However, there are some positive signs for the future with the Ontario Securities Commission’s proposal to hold publically-traded companies accountable for poor representation of women on boards of directors.
As gender diversity lobbyists push for quotas in Canada, a UK based bank has set their own goal.