The Women in Finance Charter: Pledging our commitment to gender equality

Launched by the UK government in 2016, the Women in Finance Charter aims to improve gender diversity in UK financial services. Bank of America invests in women at all levels of the company globally and our efforts across EMEA align with the spirit of the UK Charter. The signing of the Charter by Bank of America Merrill Lynch reinforces Bank of America’s position as a global leader in striving for gender equality. Consequently Bank of America Merrill Lynch has targeted the achievement of 28% female representation in senior management roles in EMEA by the end of 2021.

“Bank of America Merrill Lynch has a long history of supporting women’s leadership and economic empowerment. We are therefore pleased to have signed the Women in Finance Charter and recognize the positive impact it will have on our industry in the UK”, Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, president, EMEA at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Aspiration and Ambition

The diversity of our employees – in thought, belief, style, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, ability and experience – makes us stronger, and is essential to our ability to fulfill our purpose of making financial lives better, and achieve our business strategy of responsible growth. We foster a workplace where all employees are empowered to bring their authentic selves to work, leading to an inclusive culture where people can share their diverse perspectives and create value for our stakeholders in doing so.

We have a long heritage of supporting women’s leadership and economic empowerment. We recognize that women play a significant role in advancing economic growth within their communities and in the global economy, and so we support them in accessing the necessary capital and resources. We extend our support beyond our own business, connecting women to the resources, networks and mentoring needed to help them achieve success.

Today, more than half of our global workforce is female, six of our CEO’s direct reports and six of our 13 independent Board of Director members are female and/or persons of colour; and in EMEA our Executive Committee is 25% female.

The 2017 Bloomberg Financial Services Gender-Equality Index recently reinforced our position as a global leader in gender equality and supporting women in the workplace. Among other things, the Index highlighted the company’s representation of women at all levels, our leading talent development and benefit programs, gender-conscious product offerings for clients, and active support and engagement on these issues in the communities we serve.

Accountability

Around the world, managers are accountable for building diverse teams and fostering an inclusive environment where employees are valued for who they are and what they offer. Our Global Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Council, chaired by our CEO and comprised of senior leaders from across the company, is responsible for working with Global Human Resources (GHR) to set D&I goals and practices. In EMEA, our D&I Council is sponsored by the regional president and is comprised of senior executives from all lines of business and support functions who are held accountable for driving the D&I strategy across their business.

The Global D&I Organization is a team of employees whose full-time responsibility is to partner with GHR and every line of business and region to develop D&I strategies, recruit diverse talent, manage partnerships and alliances focused on diversity, and actively engage our employees. From our CEO down, every manager has D&I objectives incorporated into their business goals which contribute to year-end performance management discussions and decisions. Our focus on increasing the number of women at junior, mid and senior levels, is a key part of this.

Data helps to drive action and ensure that we focus on the right initiatives that will have the biggest impact. To that end, quarterly dashboards for gender representation are produced for senior leaders and the D&I Council, highlighting areas of success and opportunity.

Key Initiatives

With a continued emphasis on identifying, developing and retaining female talent across our company, we run a variety of programs that support the career progression, learning and development, and sponsorship of women from junior to senior levels.

Attraction

  • As part of our Junior Talent strategy, we actively attract women from schools and universities from across EMEA to join our female-specific insight programs, Female Futures and Females in Finance, which provide a pipeline of female junior talent. To foster the development and cultivation of this group, we host events with female leaders at the bank and provide female buddies and mentors to those joining our summer internship program right through to those joining as full time analysts.
  • Our Talent Acquisition team consults with the business and works with specialists to build diverse talent pools and pipelines. They do this by engaging specialist suppliers to deliver diversity-focused market maps designed to support integrated succession plans at the senior level; and ensure a contractual commitment with suppliers to provide the company with a diverse slate of candidates for all roles.
  • Launched in 2012, our Returning Talent Program – held annually in London, Chester and Dublin – provides an opportunity for people who have been out of work for at least 12 months to re-enter the workforce. Participants explore the changing workplace, build professional connections with our employees, access executive coaching and gain insight into our company.
  • Our family-friendly support includes options for paid and unpaid leave; shared parental leave; maternity workshops and coaching; a private hospital discount; 20 days’ child/carers emergency leave; the ability to take additional time off work as unpaid family leave; and flexible working arrangements.

We also develop and inspire junior women outside our company; key programs include:

  • As lead corporate supporter of Education and Employers’ Inspiring the Future campaign, and founding corporate partner of Inspiring Women, we provide careers insight and inspiration to young people across the UK.
  • Through partnerships with Code First: Girls and STEMettes, we encourage young women to consider a career in technology.
  • We also partner with Vital Voices and the Cherie Blair Foundation to connect nearly 2,000 women entrepreneurs from more than 80 countries with mentors.

Career Development

  • Our Learning & Leadership Development team actively supports all women at the company with advice and support throughout their careers and life changes.
  • Women who take on a senior role are provided with one-on-one executive on-boarding support, helping them to navigate the bank and quickly build key relationships.
  • Our four annual global Enterprise Leadership Programs for top talent include the Women’s Executive Development Program for female talent, run over a 10 month period and including assessments, leadership skills, senior leader sponsorship and networking.
  • Pathways to Progression helps to improve the retention and pull-through of women to senior levels. Targeting EMEA vice president women, the program helps participants develop new capabilities, create new networks, access one-on-one career support, and connect with senior leaders.
  • Our Career Navigator initiative provides access to leadership and opportunities for key talent to advance their careers, connecting employees with learning and leadership development professionals for dedicated career conversations and tailored development support.
  • Through our Internal Mobility initiative, we proactively help those seeking a new role to move within teams, regions or countries, with a particular emphasis on the careers of our women.

Engagement

  • Our annual Global Women’s Conference convenes top female leaders to discuss leadership, mobility, advancement, family and community.
  • Our three Networks for women play a key role in helping to build the culture of our company and focus on recruitment, development, networking, culture and community engagement.
  • Our Parents & Careers Network provides educational sessions about raising a young family or supporting a relative at home as well as networking opportunities for like-minded men and women.
  • Through Manager Excellence sessions – covering D&I, engagement, career coaching and teamwork – we discuss the important role that managers play in gender equality.
  • Unconscious Bias training has been rolled out globally to more than 25,000 management-level employees since its 2013 launch, highlighting the importance of understanding our unconscious biases and the impact these have on making objective decisions.

External Recognition

  • Winner of Euromoney ‘World’s Best Bank for Diversity 2016
  • Ranked as leader on 2016 and 2017 Bloomberg Financial Services ‘Gender-Equality Index’
  • The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and National Business Inclusion Consortium recognized us as a 2017 Best of the Best Corporation committed to diversity and inclusion
  • Awarded the 2015 ‘Top Employer Award for Career Progression’ from Workingmums
  • Awarded Women in Banking & Finance’s 2016 ‘Team Diversity Award’ (joint entry by our three EMEA women’s Networks).

5/25/2017


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