Back to all news

Financial services sector must do more to promote inclusion in the workplace

London, 23 February 2022 – Measuring inclusion in the workplace, developing a culture of listening, and prioritising inclusion alongside diversity in the Boardroom is key to attracting and retaining talent across financial services, according to a report published today by the Financial Services Culture Board (FSCB) and the Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC).

The report, Inclusion across financial services: Piloting a common approach to measurement, is the largest sector survey in the UK on inclusion to date with over 3,000 employee responses. The findings showed that, while the majority of employees surveyed felt their managers promoted an inclusive environment at work, individual experiences differed by (for example) disability, ethnicity, tenure and leadership responsibility. This was particularly the case when it came to concerns relating to being stereotyped, speaking up about issues, and the perceived fairness of workplace processes.

The research identified five principal findings:

  • Nine in ten (89%) employees are positive about their managers’ efforts to promote inclusion at work.
  • One third (33%) of firms participating in this survey do not currently discuss inclusion metrics at Board level. Many firms compile diversity statistics, and these are likely to be discussed at senior level, but data on inclusion is less frequently reviewed.
  • One fifth (19%) of respondents were concerned about being judged on their ability based on stereotypes about their identity or background.
  • 17% of employees worried about the negative consequences of raising a concern and a quarter (25%) of respondents were unsure, or did not feel listened to, when speaking up.
  • Nearly three quarters (72%) of employees said that they had fair access to progression opportunities, but around 13% did not. When asked what leaders could do to make their organisation more inclusive, suggestions related to recruitment, reward, progression, and workload were among the top 3 groups of responses.

Alison Cottrell, Chief Executive of the Financial Services Culture Board said:

“Good businesses benefit from having people of different backgrounds and experiences who are able and ready to make suggestions, speak up and learn from each other. Good people want to work in businesses where inclusion is the cultural norm, and where difference is not just accepted but valued. Inclusive cultures make good business sense; for firms and employees, and for the customers, clients and society they serve.”

Claire Tunley, Chief Executive of the Financial Services Skills Commission said:

“The financial services sector is facing acute skills shortages and it’s clear that ensuring an inclusive workplace culture is integral to talent retention, attraction and wider business success. Many firms across the sector are already working hard to create inclusive cultures, but there is still more to be done. Understanding employees’ experience of inclusion as well as diversity is key to tracking this and an essential step to achieving better outcomes for business and society.”

This pilot survey on inclusion is based on the FSSC’s Inclusion Measurement Guide (launched in July 2021) and the FSCB’s internal dataset (from its assessment of culture and behaviour) which measures employee experiences of inclusivity in financial services. Thirteen firms took part in the survey including banks, building societies, insurers, asset managers and chartered bodies. The report provides comparative, benchmarked data across a range of demographic groups. The survey took place from 18 October to 21 November, 2021.

Editors notes:

The report, Inclusion across financial services: Piloting a common approach to measurement can be accessed here.

About the FSCB:
The Financial Services Culture Board (FSCB) is an independent, not for profit membership body established in April 2015 (initially as the Banking Standards Board). It provides support, challenge, evidence, and expertise to help member firms and others manage their organisational cultures for the benefit of customers, clients, the economy and society as a whole. Follow FSCB on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About the FSSC:
The Financial Services Skills Commission is an independent, member led body, representing the UK financial services sector on skills. We work directly with the sector and advocate for innovative collaboration to ensure that businesses have the talent and skills they need for the future. Follow FSSC on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Laura Conaghan, Head of External Affairs, FSCB

Linsey White, Communications Director, FSSC
Mobile: 07801 961186

23 February 2022