Our commitment to signing the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter supports our existing gender equality strategy and demonstrates our commitment to do more.  

We have set an ambitious 50% (+/- 10%) target (the variation of +/- 10% to reflect the timescale, the desire to develop and retain the right internal talent, and the existing availability of senior women in the financial services industry). 

When we signed up to the Charter in June 2016, we had 27.5% female representation in senior management roles.  As of September 2022, that figure has increased by 4.2% to 31.7% female representation in senior management. 

Understanding that we have set ourselves a challenging target, we acknowledge that this increase is slower than we would like. However, we continue to refine and evolve our Diversity & Inclusion gender strategy to accelerate the pace by which we increase the number of women in senior management roles.  

Our actions in this period can be found in our Diversity Pay Report.  

Continuing to encourage business ownership for improving diversity and inclusion

We continue to work closely with leaders across the business to ensure that we have a 50/50 gender balance shortlist for all advertised senior manager roles where possible. To help us achieve that, we are utilising specialist recruitment agencies and job boards to help us reach out to a diverse talent pool and we continue leveraging our internal female talent pipeline.  We are also ensuring hiring managers consider the impact role location has on the potential pool of candidates to encourage a wider pool of senior talent.  

We have established Senior Leadership D&I champions to support greater leadership accountability and ownership, including gender. 

Supporting women to thrive

We offer all colleagues the opportunity to have career conversations with their line managers, and last year launched a new portal to support learning and development, designed to enable colleagues to manage their own professional development.  We have also placed enhanced focus on the wellbeing of our colleagues.  

We continue to work with I&D partners to participate in external cross-company mentoring programmes that aims to achieve better balance of men and women at all levels of their organisations 

We are working with partners to deliver comprehensive support for colleagues going through the menopause, recognising that women aged 50 and over make up approx. 20% of the San UK female workforce.  Many will be in senior leadership positions and are at the age where they are potentially suffering the impacts of menopause.  External research tells us that 45% of women say they feel the menopause has a negative impact on their work.  

We have placed significant emphasis in encouraging meaningful conversations around the menopause and generally around colleague’s wellbeing between colleague and line manager.  As well as publishing guidance for colleagues and managers, following a successful trial (where over 75% of participants felt more confident in their menopause journey and were less bothered with their symptoms) we have rolled out access to Peppy, a healthcare service that provides access to confidential support and guidance from NHS trained nurses who specialise in menopause treatment and support.

Increased targeted engagement by our Women in Business Network 

With the engagement of a new Chair in 2019, our Women in Business Employee Resource Group has evolved since launching in 2012.  Today it has over 3000 members – a 12% uplift, with over 10% who are men as allies).  They work tirelessly to provide a safe community for colleagues to speak up and share their experiences, providing feedback on our processes and practices to make changes that will improve the working lives of present and future colleagues.  They recently held intimate focus groups looking to transform the maternity experience which saw frontline WIB members united with central policy makers to understand the policy, process and experience and commit to strategic, tactical and creative enhancements. 

Through the continued delivery of #Iamremarkable and LeanIn workshop sessions they are helping colleagues to shape the careers they want.   They host events and activities to support colleagues, increasingly taking an intersectional approach, working with volunteers from the other people networks to deliver activity that will resonate with multiple stakeholders and drive engagement with new-to-network colleagues – like hosting an International Men’s Day activity with our Mental Wellbeing network.  

Driving thought leadership on the role of men as change agents

As part of our commitment to be an employer of choice and to contribute to thought leadership in gender equality, we proactively seek opportunities to reflect and reinforce our long-term gender ambitions. For example: 

  • Our Chairman speaking, with our ExCo Gender sponsor hosting, an industry event ‘Men as Allies’ with Women in Banking and Finance.   
  • Our Exco Sponsor for Gender joining a panel at the FT Women at the Top conference to discuss “Real, meaningful progress requires everyone to take a proactive interest. So how do we do it? What are the tried and tested methods of bringing more men”
  • We have been named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women for 2022, and been commended for being in the top ten percent of organisations that has featured regularly for the last ten years 
  • We benchmark in the top 20 employers for Social Mobility
  • We have been awarded the Best for Mental Health and Wellbeing Award by Working Families for our support for colleagues in each of the last two years, and our Family and Carers network was a finalist for best Family Network for the second year running. 
  • In 2021 we took part in research with the Government Equalities Office titled “Supporting men to take longer parental leave and work flexibly” which found providing feedback which made clear that the majority of male peers were supportive of parental leave significantly increased participants’ intentions to take between 5 and 8 weeks of parental leave at Santander by 62%. We supported this research with an internal comms campaign to encourage more men to take more parental leave.
  • We continue to be thought leaders for equalising gender and caring roles, sponsoring Business in The Communities ‘Who Cares” report in 2022.