Inclusion at Virgin Money

At Virgin Money, inclusion is at the heart of our culture. It’s written into our values. This is because we are striving to build a workforce which reflects the diversity of our customers, helping us to better understand their needs, make more informed decisions, build stronger relationships, and tap into new ideas and innovation. As part of our inclusion strategy, we want to build a truly inclusive culture, where every colleague and customer feels they belong. This is why we have embedded inclusion within all the key drivers of cultural change including: performance; selection; values and behaviours; and development.

We are committed to delivering our inclusion strategy and are serious about the work we are doing to be recognised as an inclusive, customer focused organisation both inside and out.

The sections below detail some of the important work we are undertaking to bring our inclusion strategy to life:

We are going beyond diversity to really build an environment where every colleague can be comfortable and confident
Kate Guthrie, Group Human Resources Director

Leading inclusion at Virgin Money

Reflecting the importance of inclusion to our organisation, members of our Leadership Team are Executive Sponsors of the strategy. This means our Leadership Team are active role models, allies and advocates of our inclusion strategy, securing support from across all parts of our organisation. They also provide important visibility and support for our Colleague Network Groups for Gender, Age, Disability, Ethnicity and Sexual Orientation, unlocking access across the organisation and acting as ambassadors for our Group externally.

Our Executive Sponsors and our Group HR Director also act as our steering group for inclusion. While each has their own individual areas of focus, all Leadership Team members actively support and drive inclusion at Virgin Money.

Board Diversity and Inclusion

As a Board, we are committed to delivering our inclusion strategy and although new appointments are always based on merit, careful consideration is given to the benefits of improving and complementing the diversity, skills, experience and knowledge of the Board.

The Board’s Governance and Nomination Committee will make sure that the Board is made up of competent colleagues with the necessary balance of diversity, skills and experience required to ensure that the Board can function effectively.

As part of our commitment to our inclusion strategy, we are building strong female representation at all levels within the Group – including at Board, executive and senior management levels. We are proud to have signed up to the Women in Finance Charter which reflects our commitment to build strong female representation at all levels within our organisation. We have set measurable objectives for achieving gender diversity, and our progress towards achieving these objectives is reported to the Board.

As at 30 September 2019, the percentage of female representation on the Board was 31% (based on four female Directors and 9 male Directors). It is the Board’s intention that this proportion improves even further and our target is to achieve 33% by 2020, achieved through the natural cycle of Board renewal. Notwithstanding our gender diversity target, Board composition is based on meritocracy. Virgin Money also has a target of 40% women in senior management roles by 2020 as part of Women in Finance Charter commitments.

It is Virgin Money’s intention to broaden diversity on the Board beyond gender diversity alone, to reflect the communities in which the Bank operates and serves.

The Board Composition and Renewal Policy sets out the Board’s approach to inclusion. Under the policy, the Governance and Nomination Committee is responsible for reviewing the composition of the Group’s Boards to ensure that their membership is diverse. A separate Diversity and Inclusion Policy applies to all colleagues across the Group.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

At Virgin Money men and women are paid equally for doing the same or similar jobs. The key drivers behind our pay gap is that overall we still have more men than women in senior roles and more women than men in our customer facing roles, which are often more junior.

There are a number of steps we are taking to improve our gender balance that we expect to positively impact our gender pay gap, including:

Our Leaders

  • Enhancing our recruitment practises and building inclusion into all leadership activity to raise the standards of recruitment.
  • Ensuring that our people leaders feel equipped to support and develop a diverse and flexible workforce through
  • Promoting and role modelling a flexible working culture.

Our People

  • Enhancing our inclusive recruitment practises by mandating diverse shortlists for applicant submission, reviewing the make-up of our interview panels and our approach to anonymised selection. We will also review our partnerships to attract a diverse and exciting workforce.
  • Continue to support our colleague networks, promoting development opportunities and creating a movement. We will use these networks to share stories and ideas, celebrate differences and showcase talent.
  • Enabling our colleagues through technology which encourages flexible working, remote learning and virtual networking.
  • Continuing our ‘Return to Work’ programme, to support women returners.

Our Insight

  • Driving accountability by using our insights to understand the make-up of our workforce from recruitment to retirement to pinpoint leaks in the talent lifecycle, allowing us to track progress and shape direction.
  • Engaging with our networks to share ideas and experiences to break down barriers and maximise opportunities.

Our role in society

  • Continuing with our commitment to build relationships with our local communities and schools to deliver our STEM schools programme to encourage more females at an early age to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths career paths.

We are encouraged that the changes we are making are having an impact; we are proud that 88% of colleagues told us they can be themselves at work in the recent myVoice survey.

However, we recognise that there is still a lot more to be done and we will continue to shape a more diverse and inclusive culture at the Bank.

Gender Pay Gap Report 2019(Opens in a new window)

Our Inclusion Steering Group Members
Kate Guthrie
Kate Guthrie

Group Human Resources Director

Inclusion is integral to who we are at Virgin Money. We are going beyond diversity to really build an environment where every colleague can be comfortable, be confident and be at their best at work. We firmly believe that creating an inclusive workplace is good for us, for our colleagues and for our customers.

Our Colleague Network Groups play an important role in making sure our colleagues feel included, engaged and supported. They offer advice, support, guidance, and facilitate many events and activities to help our desire to be recognised as an inclusive bank both inside and out.

Enda Johnson
Enda Johnson

Group Corporate Development Director

As we focus on becoming a truly inclusive business, one that is fully reflective of our customers, it’s important we are creating opportunities for long term personal and career development, celebrating achievements and supporting the gender balance and inclusion strategy. In support of this, I'm proud to sponsor our Balance Colleague Network Group. This Group plays a vital role in encouraging, supporting and mentoring all our colleagues and ensuring we are a modern and diverse employer.

I am also Virgin Money’s Women in Finance Charter Executive Sponsor. I am an admirer of the ambitions of the Women in Finance Charter and I’m thrilled to be able to offer my support in my role as Sponsor to help shape the future direction of our organisation.

Fraser Ingram
Fraser Ingram

Group Chief Operating Officer

“I am delighted to be the sponsor of Aspire. I started in Banking as a trainee bank officer in 1984 and have received lots of support and opportunity during my career. Developing our skills and experience helps deliver our ambition of becoming a true national competitor. People have different needs as they move through their career and being part of the Aspire network can help colleagues reach their full potential.”

James Peirson
James Peirson

Group General Counsel

Continuing our focus on supporting inclusion across our organisation, I am delighted to be the Sponsor for disability, enablement and health, working closely with our Enable Colleague Network Group, focusing on understanding more about the disability and health issues experienced by colleagues and customers, and driving initiatives to help make Virgin Money an inclusive bank for all.

Enable provides support and advice for colleagues and their families contending with, or affected by, a range of disabilities or ill health. Our ultimate goal is to make our organisation one where doing business is easy and straightforward for everyone.

Mark Thundercliffe
Mark Thundercliffe

Group Chief Risk Officer

I am very proud to be the Sponsor of our Ethnicity Colleague Network Group, Embrace. We work closely to support initiatives that take positive action in making Virgin Money inclusive for all. My career has taken me to many countries throughout the world and realise the importance of having the knowledge of different values, beliefs and cultures and the opportunities this can bring. The ethnic makeup of the UK is evolving significantly and therefore it is vital we all support and gain a better understanding of the individual needs of our colleagues, as well as our existing and potential new customers from a developing multi-cultural population.

Fergus Murphy
Fergus Murphy

Group Personal Director

As the proud sponsor of our Vibrant (LGBT) Colleague Network Group, I am a firm believer that everyone should have the same opportunities, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, ethnicity, faith or disability. With the Vibrant Network, I help to drive sponsorship and support projects and initiatives across the organisation and be an ambassador for the Bank, helping to build our reputation and learn from the outside.

Including everyone at Virgin Money

At Virgin Money, our focus is creating an inclusive culture because we firmly believe this approach is reflective of our customers and of society as a whole. We are working to create an environment where people feel comfortable to be themselves, to ask questions and be curious. This is why we have built inclusion into our values and behaviours. We want colleagues to feel empowered, use their initiative, solve problems and contribute to our organisation. Importantly, we need people to feel able to bring their whole self to work. We encourage all colleagues to join our Colleague Network Groups for Gender, Age, Disability, Ethnicity and Sexual Orientation as they provide the opportunity for colleagues to support, include, connect and share.

Further training

In addition to our Colleague Network Groups, we provide everyone with the opportunity to complete unconscious bias training – a safe environment in which individuals can identify their own unconscious bias and explore ways to overcome it.

Our attraction and selection approach has been completely re-designd to ensure alignment with our Purpose and values and behaviours, of which inclusion is a core part.

Our Colleague Network Group members undertake important activities, helping to:

  • encourage new members to join in order to raise energy and awareness of inclusion both internally and externally;
  • support our Customer Journey Programme, to ensure we meets the needs of all our customers;
  • create more opportunities for development, helping to shape our group;
  • support individuals who require guidance; and
  • raise money for local charities.

Our commitments to inclusion

We are committed to delivering our inclusion strategy to make us a more inclusive business with a supportive culture and positive working environment. As part of our commitment, we are working with external partners who provide us with advice and support in the following areas.

As part of our Women in Finance Charter commitments:

Since singing up to the Women in Finance Charter, both Virgin Money and CYBG have worked hard to make progress against our targets, which reflects the commitment we have to build strong female representation at all levels within our organisation. This year, as we come together to form a new and exciting Virgin Money, we have taken this opportunity to learn from each other while also reviewing our WIFC targets and definition of senior management to better reflect our newly combined senior management team.

Going forward, our newly combined company target for 2020 will be 40% females in senior management positions with our longer-term aspiration for gender balance of 40-45% by 2022. Along with a review of our combined target, we have amended our definition of senior leadership to better reflect the newly combined structure.

As of August 2019, as a combined group we had 36% female representation within senior management.

Over the last 12 months, we have been making good progress towards our target, not only to drive actions that improve diversity, but that also create a truly inclusive culture. To do this we have:

  • Transformed our performance management approach which encourages ongoing personal improvement and a team-based performance management framework removing the risk of any gender bias
  • Continued to review our approach to parental leave to encourage shared parental leave; and modernised our existing policies to make flexible working easier, encouraging uptake particularly in more senior roles;
  • Offered opportunities to females as part of a Return to Work Programme and developed programmes and sponsorship for our future leaders, graduates and apprentices ensuring we have a gender balanced approach
  • Reviewed our approach to inclusive recruitment by encouraging mixed-gender interview panels, diverse shortlists and values-based hiring
  • Listened to our people, running internal focus groups and surveys focused specifically on understanding the idiosyncratic nuances of our business so we can shape and progress our gender balance strategy

Future Priorities

But we won’t stop there as we know that diversity doesn’t begin and end with signing a pledge. We will continue to drive our inclusion strategy and have already committed to:

  • Continuously reviewing our policies to ensure we are creating an inclusive culture and making flexible working easier
  • Further reviewing our recruitment processes to ensure we are attracting, recruiting and meeting a diverse range of candidates
  • Reviewing all key stages in a women’s career journey to ensure that their career paths are not disadvantaged
  • Continuing with our commitment to build relationships with our local communities and schools to deliver our STEM programme, with an aim of encouraging more females at an early age to take an interest in STEM career paths.
  • Continuing to take the insight and feedback from our focus groups to deliver the broader structural changes required to deliver our strategy

We know that there is still more work to be done to ensure that Virgin Money is a diverse and inclusive organisation, and while we continue to work to increase our female representation, we inevitably expect to see our gender pay gap reducing.