In July 2016, our Board and Executive Team were delighted to be one of the first signatories of the HM Treasury Women in Finance charter, demonstrating our commitment to inclusion and diversity, and in particular, to supporting actions which will improve the representation of senior women in our industry.

Keith Skeoch, CEO said:

“In signing this Charter we’re taking another important step towards our goal of creating a diverse leadership population and talent pipeline. At Standard Life we believe it’s important to have a fully diverse workforce and we have been taking positive steps to break down barriers where they exist. That’s why we’re pleased to be joining other leading organisations in supporting the Women in Finance Charter. We’re looking forward to working together to make a sustained difference.”

At Standard Life, our approach to diversity and inclusion is defined in its broadest sense including, for example, age, social-economic background, gender, disability, experience and ethnicity. We have a fundamental belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to fulfil their potential and are committed to providing an inclusive workplace where all forms of diversity are valued. For example, we are proud of the work we do to recruit young people from diverse backgrounds. This has increased our UK employees aged 25 and under from 0.5% in 2012 to 8% in 2016 and has established Standard Life as a Champion of Social Mobility for the Social Mobility & Child Poverty Commission.

Gender equality

The intent behind the Women in Finance Charter fits with our undertaking to improve and promote all forms of diversity and, as part of our wider approach, our commitment to tackling the specific challenges around gender equality. This has been a priority area of attention for several years and is reviewed as part of quarterly talent conversations with our Board and Nomination and Governance Committee.

As a result of this focus, representation of women on our talent pipeline has increased to 42% (as at end of 2016) and we are focussed on converting this into our senior leadership population. We were voted in the Times Top 50 Employers for Women in 2015 and our award-winning Women’s Development Network consistently report higher engagement levels for members than women and men elsewhere in the business.

We’ve also improved parental transition, have market leading shared parental leave provisions and have received external accreditation for the support we have in place for working carers.

Our aims

To continue our focus in this area, we have set progressive target ranges for our leadership population to represent the gender split of our workforce  by the end of 2025 (currently 49% female as at end of 2016).

July 2016 26% leadership population is female
By September 2017
26-30% leadership population will be female
By September 2021 30-35% leadership population will be female

Our leadership population includes those currently holding senior positions: CEO -1 and CEO -2 direct reports, and others in our Senior Leadership Team. Our progress will come from sustaining our attention through a wide range of activities. These include:
• Aligning all our senior females, and those in the leadership pipeline, to an internal development coach and to a wide range of development opportunities (internally and externally) to accelerate their progression
• Repositioning our Talent Acquisition operations to proactively build and maintain more diverse talent pools, including gender
• Supporting female talent to secure Non-Executive Director external appointments from an earlier stage in their career to broaden their experience in preparation for internal and externals senior appointments
• Increasing the visibility of our female talent with our Board through our annual Board development dinner and regular informal exposure.

Making a difference

Our Chief People Officer, Sandy Begbie, is the senior executive member responsible and accountable for diversity and inclusion and is leading the work we are doing to meet our targets for gender diversity in senior management. Our priority has been to agree ranges which are stretching but achievable, and which have sponsorship across the business - the Strategic Executive Committee holds collective accountability for progress across the organisation and the Board, through the Nomination and Governance Committee, will continue to regularly review the diversity of our succession plans. The Remuneration Committee will take into account the delivery against these targets as it does a number of other employee related metrics on our executive scorecards when finalising our executive remuneration.

We are continuing to work closely with HM Treasury and with other leading organisations in our industry in support of the Charter to make a sustained difference.

We've published our latest Women in Finance Charter update - our first as Standard Life Aberdeen. There's information about how we aim to encourage an inclusive workplace in the Our People section, and if you want to find more out more about the Women in Finance Charter you can visit the Government’s website.

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