Diversity and progression - your views?

  • Hilary Cooper
  • 12 November 2019
  • Blog | Professionalism and Ethics | Blog

How do members of the Chartered Banker Institute view progression, pay negotiation and transparency, gender and ethnicity in their industry and organisation? The Institute’s 2019 survey on Diversity and Progression, compiled by independent think tank The Finance Foundation, captured a sample of views from around 350 respondents to its online questionnaire.


Views on progression are positive when focused on the industry – 70% of respondents to our survey agree that there are clear opportunities for progression. Views on women’s progression opportunities were even more positive – 76% of respondents seeing these as good, although men were somewhat more upbeat on this than women. However, this was not repeated in relation to ethnic minority groups, where only half of those from an ethnic minority background agreed that they had good access to progression in the industry.


When the questions moved on to their own organisation, views were significantly less positive – more than 60% of both men and women respondents thought that there were barriers in their organisation impeding progression. One of the most striking findings is the continued belief that promotion is determined by who you know, cited by 50% of those identifying barriers in their organisation. This repeats the findings of both the 2017 and 2016 Chartered Banker Institute surveys, which also found this to be the leading issue.


Lack of available opportunities and a lack of support for development and career progression were the next most important issues highlighted as significant current constraints, with business uncertainty and recruitment freezes also a concern.


Family and personal commitments featured strongly in the issues raised as barriers, especially by women. Women and people from an ethnic minority background were also disproportionately likely to mention inequality of remuneration and fitting in with their organisation’s culture as factors impacting on progression.


In response to questions on pay, 61% of survey respondents said that there were clear expectations governing the pay or pay range for their job. Similar numbers said pay progression was directly linked to a structured appraisal system, with the remainder citing varying degrees of discretion in how pay awards are determined. Four in 10 (42%) thought their organisation had a high level of pay transparency, but only a quarter thought such transparency extended to bonuses.

Ethnic minority progression

Over 40% of respondents identified unconscious bias as the leading issue that needs tackling, supported by diversity and inclusion training for all staff. Leadership that promotes an inclusive image of the sector, proactively recruits from under-represented groups and supports the positive expression of diverse religions was also identified by more than a quarter of respondents as being key to future progress on ethnic diversity and progression.