The announcement by Lloyds Bank of a goal to reach 40% female representation at all levels of management by 2020 is a welcome new voluntary step by a FTSE-100 company towards better gender balance at all levels.
Last December, Sir Win Bischoff, founding chairman supporter of the 30% Club and chairman of Lloyds Bank, announced an extension of the our own objective of 30% women on FTSE-100 boards by end 2015 to encompass 30% female representation on executive committees by 2017. This new goal reflects the 30% Club’s emphasis on developing female talent beyond the boardroom, to ensure meaningful, sustainable change in business culture.
The timescale Lloyds has set itself is realistic; appointments to senior positions need obviously to be made on merit and require experience that cannot be attained overnight. The current lack of a strong pipeline of senior women reflects a range of factors, including sociological and cultural norms and traditional business practices, developed over many decades.
Creating a better gender balance at all levels requires a sustained, concerted series of talent management efforts that will ultimately modernise working practices for everyone. The 30% Club experience shows how a numeric, measurable goal can provide a useful focal point and it is exciting that Lloyds has decided to take a similar step – the first we are aware of from any FTSE-100 company – to accelerate progress. We look forward to seeing the results – and which company is next!