Diversity rising in the banking sector

By Helen Adams
Inclusion and diversity are reigning in the banking sector, which was formally known for nepotism

The banking sector; what was once the epitome of ‘the old boys network’, is changing. As reported in Sustainability, inclusivity is rising across the industry and CEOs are driving diversity from the top down. 

Earlier this month, Andrea Sullivan, international head of ESG at Bank of America, reflected on her diversity journey.

“When I started in the corporate sector, diversity didn’t really exist, and the pull-through to senior level was a challenge at best. But the world is changing and it is crucial for companies to invest in diverse talent if they are to build a sustainable workforce”, she said. 

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank has a 2025 gender goal: for women to make up 30% of its 600 senior executives. The bank must hire a woman in half of its new senior roles, in order to achieve this 2025 gender goal. 

In addition, the bank London-based bank, Standard Chartered, was thrilled when three of its employees scored places on the EMpower 50 Advocates Executives List.

Diversity among senior executives in banking

At Deutsche Bank, the goals set for 2019 were not achieved, so the 2025 targets have an increased pressure on them. 

"Greater diversity among senior executives is a business necessity for us", said Michael Ilgner, Deutsche Bank's global head of human resources. "This will make us stronger because there is ample evidence that more diverse teams perform better and adapt faster to a changing environment. We will of course choose the most suitable candidate for a position. We don't want to compromise on quality."

Ilgner admitted that Deutsche Bank had "fallen short of the wider gender diversity goals we set in 2019" and blamed job cuts and restructuring. 


An inclusive workplace

Over at Standard Chartered, the winners of the EMpower 100 Ethnic Minority Executives List and the EMpower 100 Ethnic Minority Future Leaders’ List, respectively, were:

  • Jeremy Amias, Vice Chairman of the Americas, ranked in the top 20 at number 12 in the EMpower 50 Advocates Executives List
  • Fenil Khiroya, Head of Human Resources in the UK
  • Donna Hill, Business Planning Manager


“At Standard Chartered, we believe that creating a fully diverse and inclusive workplace is both the right thing to do and a key catalyst for business success”, Maria Angelica Perez, Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Standard Chartered. “It means we can better understand and serve our clients globally and create an environment where everyone can thrive and fulfil their potential.”

As proven by Deutsche Bank, there is much work to do before the banking sector can claim true diversity, but it is taking the steps to get there.

“Society as a whole has a way to go, but we’re absolutely making progress”, reflects Sullivan


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