Lloyds becomes first FTSE 100 firm to set ethnic diversity target

Lloyds Banking Group plans to raise the proportion of staff from black, Asian or minority ethnic backgrounds to 8% of senior management by 2020.

The bank, Britain’s biggest high street lender, is the first FTSE 100 company to set a formal target to improve ethnic diversity among its top executives. It also aims to increase the proportion of non-white staff to 10% of its total workforce by the end of the decade.

Lloyds said 8.3% of its 70,000 staff and 5.6% of its 7,000 senior managers currently come from a BAME background. This compares with 12% of the UK labour force, and 14% of the UK population.

The bank, which owns Halifax and Scottish Widows, said one in 10 of its customers were from a non-white background and its long-term ambition is “to accurately reflect the customer base it serves”.

The new target will be included in the group’s Helping Britain Prosper Plan, to be published alongside its results on 21 February.

In November 2016 a government-backed review into ethnic diversity recommended that Britain’s top companies should end all-white boardrooms by 2021.

A report led by Sir John Parker, the former chairman of mining giant Anglo American, said every company listed on the FTSE 100 should have at least one non-white director by then. For FTSE 250 companies, the deadline should be 2024.

Lloyds said it had made some progress in improving racial and cultural diversity through initiatives including career development and leadership programmes for BAME staff, as well as an annual list of ethnicity role models.

Fiona Cannon, the bank’s 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.”