Britain’s biggest high street lender will this month become the first FTSE-100 company to set a formal target for the number of non-white people it employs in senior posts.
Sky News has learnt that Lloyds Banking Group will announce alongside its annual results next week that it wants 8% of its top 7,000 staff to be identified as black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) by 2020.
The target will be unveiled as part of a new Helping Britain Prosper blueprint to be implemented by Lloyds over the next three years, which will include new goals in areas such as lending to small and medium-sized businesses.
Sources said that Antonio Horta-Osorio, Lloyds’ chief executive, was determined to establish a meaningful objective for ethnic diversity at a time when workplace discrimination of many kinds is attracting enormous political and public scrutiny.
The 8% target for BAME representation in Lloyds’ senior ranks is likely to mean appointing roughly 150 more people from ethnic minority backgrounds to leadership roles by the end of the decade.
It is also expected to say that it wants 10% of its total workforce of approximately 70,000 to be BAME by 2020.
The bank, whose brands include Halifax and Scottish Widows, currently employs 5.6% of senior managers who are BAME, with 8.3% of its overall employee base non-white.
Those figures compare to 12% of the existing UK labour force and 14% of the total population who are from ethnic minorities.
Lloyds’ target is a voluntary one, and the numbers are likely to be skewed by any headcount reductions which take place during the three-year strategic plan for the bank that Mr Horta-Osorio will announce on 21 February.
An insider said this weekend that the Lloyds chief, who has steered the bank back to private ownership after eight years in partial taxpayer ownership, would declare an investment programme costing roughly £2.6bn and potentially as much as £3bn.
That capital will be deployed in new technology and infrastructure as Lloyds battles the same banking headwinds faced by its rivals across the industry.
Its decision to set targets for the proportion of BAME employees follows an objective outlined in 2013 that 40% of senior managers should be female by 2020.
The figure now stands at above 34%, while one-third of its nine non-executive board members – although none of its three executive directors – are women.
Targets for BAME representation in the upper echelons of British companies have only recently begun to emerge.
A review by Sir John Parker, the boardroom grandee who chairs Pennon, the water company, concluded in 2016 that FTSE-100 companies should have at least one non-white board member by 2021.
His recommendation was backed by the Government and employers’ groups including the CBI.
Lloyds declined to comment on Sunday.