The diversity of the world in which we live must be reflected in the way companies interact with their employees and communities. At Santander, we believe that diversity should be a fundamental pillar within any organisation, and it is therefore a key aspect of our corporate culture.
Santander’s corporate culture is aligned with our purpose – to help people and businesses prosper in a way that is simple, personal and fair. Diverse and inclusive communities are some of the most prosperous, and in doing our part, we must ensure that everyone receives the same treatment regardless of their gender, origin, sexual orientation, disability or beliefs.
So diversity is a fundamental part of Santander’s culture and we focus on four broad areas: gender, disability, LGTBI and cultural diversity.
The prestigious Financial Times has named us 2020 Diversity Leaders and, for the third year running, we are at the top of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index. Everything is motivated by our goal to promote a diverse and inclusive working environment, while ensuring equal opportunities and gender equality at all levels.
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In 2019 we were able to set up initiatives at corporate and local level that, as a result, allowed us to implement minimum standards in all countries to increase the percentage of women in the selection processes for senior management positions, increase the number of women in the list of succession plans and support the professional growth of women through guidance and development programmes.
Last year, Santander agreed on a global minimum standard for parental leave in all its markets to be applied from 2020 for a period of three years: a primary maternity/paternity leave of at least 14 paid weeks and a secondary-parent leave of at least four weeks (consecutively or divided into two periods of 15 days) until each child is one year of age, plus flexible return-to-work hours.
During International Women’s Day 2020, our teams attended a global meeting with the Santander Group executive chairman, Ana Botín and many other professionals, who discussed the roles of women, men and companies in relation to gender equality. We also organised workshops on the future of education and inclusion, which our teams participated in. This year, they were carried out under the slogan #EachforEqual given that, as Ana Botín wrote in a post on LinkedIn, we need men and women to work together to achieve gender equality at the workplace and at home.
Last year we also developed specific programmes to encourage gender diversity in the geographies in which we operate. In Spain, for example, we have the Santander Career Forward programme, which aims to help women who left their careers to look after their children or their families. We also have the “Integra” programme, a project which allows refugees from war zones to participate in paid internships. At Santander UK, we developed a mentoring programme for Black, Asian and minority ethnic professionals, while in Portugal and Mexico we have projects to promote female leadership.
In 2019, we launched a global brand for our LGTBI employee networks called "Embrace", which has members from our corporate centre, Spain, Openbank, the United Kingdom, the United States and Brazil. Santander Brazil has been recognised by Great Place to Work as one of the ten companies that stand out for their practices focused on LGTBI, and has "Aliados”, a training programme on gender diversity and sexual orientation.
At our corporate centre, located in Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, we also promote the BeYourself programme, through which we hold workshops, talks and conferences with over 2,000 participants.
Furthermore, in countries where there are no minimum legal requirements for the employability of people with disabilities, we recommend an increase of 1 percentage point on the existing workforce.
For the remainder of 2020, we want to continue focusing on inclusion and diversity as essential elements of innovation, growth and competitiveness. These are values that will allow us to progress sustainably through new training initiatives and programmes.