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RBS has pledged to get at least 30% female representation in its most senior roles across each of its business lines, exceeding the recommendations set out by the Davies review.
Group human resources director Elaine Arden said that the proportion of women in the bank’s most senior roles had increased to 32% in just two years, while its pipeline for its top 5,000 roles consists of 43% women.
This is to a great extent down to a change in the culture at the bank since the economic crisis of 2008 led to it being bailed out by the taxpayer, she added.
The Davies review recommends that UK-listed companies in the FTSE 100 should aim for a minimum of 25% female board member representation, rather than on an individual by-department basis.
“We think being gender balanced aligns with the customer service goals of our bank,” said Arden, explaining that while some business lines, such as HR, already had well over 30% senior female representation, it would be more of a challenge in others where it was “more like 10% to 14%”.
There is a further target to be "fully gender balanced", that is have 50/50 representation, by 2030.
She said it was not a question of simply launching one diversity initiative after another, but a deeper cultural change led in part by a big shift in leadership at the top of the organisation when it began its restructuring programme in 2008.
“Lots of the ingredients of the change have been running for years, such as unconscious bias training, pr