Earlier this month, Lloyds Banking Group PLC (Lloyds) became the first FTSE 100 company to set a public target to increase black, Asian and minority ethnic (B.A.M.E) representation in its senior management positions.
Although there is currently no legal obligation to do so, Lloyds has set itself a target to increase BAME representation at senior management levels to 8% by 2020, with an additional target of 10% of the total workforce by that date.
Currently, only 5.6% of Lloyds’ senior managers and 8.3% of the whole workforce are BAME. This compares with 12% of the UK labour force and 14% of the UK population.
Lloyds has stated its long-term ambition to better reflect its customer base – at present 10% are reportedly from a BAME background. It has introduced various initiatives to increase the racial and cultural diversity of its staff, including career development programmes and leadership programmes for BAME colleagues.
While a spokesperson for Lloyds as expressed some frustration with the slow rate of progress it is making, despite its sincere commitment to enhance the diversity of its staff, it needs to be careful it does not cross the line from active encouragement to positive discrimination – as this is unlawful. See our previous article on this issue.
It will be interesting to see how successful Lloyds is and whether other large companies follow suit. With the political pressure to increase gender diversity on company boards mounting over recent years, it was only a matter of time before race and ethnicity also fell under the spotlight.