Women in Finance Charter

Women in Finance Charter

At BNP Paribas we have continued to progress on our journey to meet our Women in Finance Charter targets and make diversity and inclusion a strategic priority.

Diversity, including gender equality, is a business imperative. Driving change and challenging structural inequities that have existed over decades is not always easy or quick to fix but is something that BNP Paribas is strongly committed to. We recognise that moving the needle requires more than a commitment. It requires a strategic approach and a coordinated effort by everyone, that is supported by clear actions, resources, accountability, and data transparency. We continue to strive towards making our working environment more inclusive, ensuring people feel valued and are provided with the support that they need for their professional and personal development. This will ultimately lead to better business performance, and delivery for our clients.

Emmanuelle Bury, BNP Paribas UK Country Head

When we signed up to the Charter in 2018, we had 23% female representation in senior management positions, and we set a target of 30% by end 2023 and 35% by end 2025. As of August 2023, we have 27% female representation in senior management. Unfortunately, we have not progressed as quickly as we would have hoped, as a result, do not expect to meet our original target by year-end.  We have therefore agreed with our London Branch Executive Committee to extend our deadline to 2025 to achieve the target of 30% female representation in senior management. 

As with previous years and aligned with our industry peers, we continue to see challenges in the current labour market that have impacted our ability to meet our targets. Attracting, retaining, and progressing senior women in many areas of wholesale financial services remains difficult, and low turnover in our senior management positions, while reflective of a positive culture at BNP Paribas, means that there are fewer available roles.

Despite these challenges at the mid to senior level, we are pleased to note that we have made real progress at entry level and at our most senior Executive Committee level, with 40% female on our graduate programme, 50% female on our newly launched Apprenticeship Programme, and 47% female on our London Branch Executive Committee.

Additionally, BNP Paribas reinforced its commitment to progress on gender equality at Group level, with the announcement of a global Group target of40% women on the Group Executive Committee and in the top 100 group of senior managers (G100) by 2025. We are currently at 33% on our Group Executive Committee, and 37 women are among members of the G100 list.

To evidence our strong commitment to meeting our target and to accelerate change across all areas of our business, we have appointed Emmanuelle Bury, UK Country Head, as our new Accountable Executive. Emmanuelle is Chair of both the London Branch Executive Committee and the newly created UK Culture Committee, which set and drive the strategy for culture and DE&I in the London Branch.

Having a dedicated governance for such topics with all major business lines and functions represented, ensures that these issues are given adequate focus and attention at the most senior level and Emmanuelle has personally driven strong sponsorship from senior leaders, an increased focus on data / culture metrics and on initiatives relating to female retention and progression.

In addition to the appointment of a new AE, we will be launching a robust action plan which we expect to drive progress in every department.

The action plan will focus on:

  • Prioritisation of activities related to hiring and promotion.
  • Reinforcing accountability within each department and at Executive level.
  • Clear communication of our DE&I strategy to employees.
  • Strengthening oversight and reporting, by implementing the Diversity data strategy and ensuring each department is committed to monitoring progress on a more frequent basis to reach their target.

Our action plan on gender is supported by ongoing engagement and peer support through our gender parity and Parents & Carers employee networks, working closely with four other employee networks.

Some of our achievements this year are as follows:

  • Our development programme for mid-career women, RISE has now run successfully for five consecutive years: 155 female colleagues have attended the programme since it was introduced in 2019. The aim of this programme is to support female employees in strategically managing the next steps of their careers to further strengthen our pipeline of senior female talent. We had successful outcomes from our 2022 programme, where 42% of the participants have gained promotions, role changes or on secondments. We are monitoring the outcome of the 2023 cohort. 
  • Implemented targeted development programmes for women, with the introduction of department specific initiatives, such as ‘StrongHer’ in Operations and IT.
  • We are currently going through the progressive implementation of formalised Corporate Titles; the Bank has introduced a robust role-based job evaluation methodology to assign roles including for senior positions (VP equivalent and above).
  • We completed the roll-out of “speak up” training across the platform to support employees in raising feedback through different channels and implemented a ‘Listening Strategy’ to further enhance action and transparency on the back of employee feedback.
  • The hybrid working model which was implemented after the pandemic continues to promote flexibility and agility in our working model, which benefits all employees and positively impacts work life balance. We recognise that our employees have different individual life expectations, personal situations, and differing requirements from their roles. Within our new Smart Working framework, managers play a vital role in the overall Smart Working experience of their team – including helping to mitigate anxiety caused by uncertainty and change, helping to prevent stress and burnout, and to build strong and resilient teams. In our recent 2023 pulse survey, 82% of women reported that their smart working arrangements suited them and strongly agreed that their managers were doing enough to support them.
  • The Employee Networks continue to grow, develop synergies and strengthen their role as key players in the promotion of diversity and inclusion and continue to run programmes and initiatives aimed at supporting women at important points in their lives and careers.
  • Through our Menopause at Work Initiative, we have made access to private medical cover easier, we have set up staff support groups, introduced a specialist Menopause support app and have trained Menopause champions. BNP Paribas was nominated at the prestigious Menopause Friendly Employer Awards 2023 as a finalist in the Best Support Group Category.
  • We have launched new supportive policies on Maternity, Paternity, Co-parenting, and Shared Parental Leave and offer additional cover and leave for Fertility investigation and treatment including for female same sex couples.
  • We continue to offer additional services under of Private Health benefits and wellbeing offerings, including sickness leave in case of pregnancy loss, advanced cervical cancer screening through an external provider, and a dedicated breast cancer pathway under our private medical scheme. There is also the continuation and further development of a New and Expectant Parents program.