Diversity and inclusion are two factors Banco Santander is committed to. We have been recognised by Euromoney as the ‘Best bank for diversity and inclusion 2020’ for our programmes and initiatives in these areas.
Our purpose is to help people prosper through inclusivity and diversity. Therefore, we make equality between men and women a priority. At the beginning of the year, we set a higher minimum standard for paternity and maternity leave for group employees than local laws in several countries where we operate. Our efforts in gender equality have been recognised by world-renowned publications, including the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, a ranking we have led for the last three years.
Inclusion and diversity are at the top of Santander Group’s list of objectives. We have set targets for the years ahead, such as increasing female representation on the board to between 40% and 60% by 2021. We have governance bodies overseeing corporate culture, pledges and regulations dictated by our Corporate Culture Policy, in addition to many initiatives to promote gender, disability, LGBTI and cultural diversity.
In our day-to-day activities, we care for our employees. We have designed measures to balance work with private life, such as consultations with our employees on how to attend to their well-being and new guidelines on ‘flexiworking’. In addition to our minimum global measures for maternity and paternity leave, we have devised back-to-work programmes for employees who have taken time off to care for their families.
Diversity and inclusion in our geographies
Santander Group has taken various measures to promote diversity. In the UK, 40% of executive hires from outside the bank are women, and we have a nine-month ‘Accelerating you’ leadership development programme for talented women. In Mexico, in addition to our new programme, Mujer 360, focused on female talent, we have been running the Igual de Diferente (‘Just as different’) campaign to highlight the importance of a diverse staff and spread a culture of inclusion, in which some 5,000 employees took part in 2019. Furthermore, our head office in Spain and our subsidiaries in the United States, Poland and Brazil have women’s networks in place to share knowledge and promote women’s leadership and empowerment. We also run the De Mujer a Mujer (‘From woman to woman’) programme at our corporate centre in Madrid as well as the Inclusive Communities Forum in Portugal to support female employees.
Diversity is another key area we are currently working on with several initiatives in progress. In Brazil, we have pledged to increase the number of black employees to at least 30% of our headcount by 2021. We also have Santander Integra (‘Santander Integrates’) in Spain and several new cultural diversity networks in the United States and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, as part of our continued support of our LGBTI colleagues, we have set up the ‘Embrace’ network, which already has 3,000 members across our geographies.
Our inclusion initiatives for disabled people have been bearing fruit. In 2019, we increased the percentage of disabled employees to 1.84% in the entire group. We are part of “Valuable 500”, a movement that places disability on the agenda of business leaders. We also continue to increase accessibility in the workplace, spread awareness and expand employee networks in our geographies, including ‘Differently Abled’ in Poland, the ‘Summer Experience Programme’ in Spain and the accessibility project at our corporate centre in Boadilla del Monte, Madrid.
And we mustn’t forget our customers and investors. Santander offers them a wide range of options to make all aspects of their lives more inclusive and diverse. This includes products and services such as Banca Women in Argentina to promote financial inclusion, the ‘Barrier-Free Banking’ programme at Santander Bank Polska, and the project for physical and technological accessibility at Santander Portugal.
In recognition of our initiative in promoting diversity and inclusion, Euromoney magazine has named us its ‘Best bank for diversity and inclusion 2020’. We will continue to work in the same direction so everyone can prosper and realise their dreams.