Diversity, inclusion and belonging
Together we make the difference
At ING, we believe we can only live up to our purpose and deliver on our strategy with a culture of diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB). A culture where every colleague has a true sense of belonging and is respected for who they are – so that our business and our customers benefit from their unique perspectives and experiences. When people feel seen, heard, valued, respected and connected, they can make the difference.
It's about being all of who we are. Everyone should be able to bring their whole self to work, every single day. We value difference and actively promote a culture of respect for each individual. By creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive environment we aim for everyone at ING to have a sense of belonging and to realise their full career potential.
Fairness and inclusion are at the heart of everything we do and all that we stand for. We believe that our focus on inclusion helps us attract, retain and leverage the best people. When people feel included, they are engaged in their roles and emotionally invested in the company. When we treat each other with support and mutual respect, and work inclusively together across our differences, the possibilities of what we can achieve are truly limitless.
Our approach is structured and based on evidence about what works, which means we do four things.
We lead by example.
When leaders take visible action on diversity, inclusion and belonging (DIB), and show knowledge of the issue, they send a clear message that this is a priority for our business. Diverse teams are proven to outperform homogenous ones, but they need to be led inclusively.
We treat DIB like any other strategic priority,
We support DIB with a full package of structure, data, metrics and communication. This helps everyone to move as one and make better, more informed decisions.
We review hiring, talent and performance practices.
Structural issues and biases that contribute to inequality in society can still be barriers in our workplaces – especially when they affect decisions like appointments or promotions. We build steps to interrupt bias in our policies and practices which impact employees’ experience of hiring, progression and pay. Iris Bohnet, a leading behavioural economist at Harvard University, puts it well – to achieve real equity and fairness, – to achieve real equity and fairness, “We need to debias systems, not people.”
Our talent attraction, recruitment and selection, development and career progression by removing barriers and exclusionary practices in all markets.
We help people turn intention into action.
Most people would like to be more inclusive. They just need to be shown where to start. We focus on practical, everyday ways to make a difference.
Bringing DIB to life requires structural inclusion as much as behavioural inclusion. It needs to be embedded in an ING culture where we feel safe to be our whole selves, safe to speak up and share what’s on our minds, while also always being open to listen to others and learn from them. We all have an important role to create a work environment that is characterised by inclusive and collaborative behaviour, which feeds into a sustainable and long-lasting inclusive culture. A culture that incorporates different views and experiences. A culture that fosters connection.
It’s important to behave with inclusion every day – in how we collaborate with colleagues, in how we deliver for clients and customers, in how we choose partners to work with, and in how we contribute to creating inclusive societies across our global markets. We strive to make sure that inclusion is part of ING’s cultural DNA and is reflected in all the daily decisions and actions we take. Small acts of everyday inclusion, done constantly and consistently by people at all levels of the company, can have a significant impact.
That’s the behavioural part of inclusion. The structural part comes from making sure that inclusion is also reflected in the way we design our processes and practices, so how we hire people, evaluate their performance, as well as how we assess talent.
When an organisation lacks diversity, it’s not the employees who need fixing – it’s the business systems.
- Joan C. Williams
This requires strong leadership to drive the change and set the tone. Our leaders need to set the right example by acting as role models, taking visible action, and by being fluent in the language, issues and data surrounding DIB. We support our leaders by providing them with the practical skills and tools they need to incorporate DIB in their management style.
To have impact and make sustainable progress on diversity, inclusion and belonging, we need actions that are both data-driven and data-proven. This way we can keep track, measure progress and make sure the action plans will continue to help us take the next steps forward.
In addition to the bank-wide action plan to improve gender equity (see below), priorities for 2023 include:
- Leadership development on inclusion-in-action.
- A new way to measure inclusion and psychological safety at ING.
- New technology to ensure job descriptions and other recruitment material is inclusive.
- A pilot to enable our employees to share their gender identity and pronouns.
Gender diversity at ING
Encouragingly, the composition of our global workforce is already in balance, with 49% women and 51% men. But the picture changes when we look at our senior management level and the talent pipeline to senior leadership – here we still have progress to make.
The higher up the organisation you look, the fewer women you see. Low representation of women in senior leadership roles is the biggest contributor to most organisations’ gender pay gap.
GJA 19-21 are the only three levels below senior leadership bankwide that dip below 30%.
Without a strong and more gender-balanced pipeline at these levels, our progress at the most senior level is unsustainable. We become overly reliant on external hiring and miss opportunities to progress our talented women.
Total ING population: approx. 60,000
* Data is as of January 2023
The GJA is our Global Job Architecture. It allows us to compare like-for-like jobs in a standardised and simple way, using common language that makes it easier to compare and match accountabilities and capabilities across countries and business lines. Roles at GJA 22+ are senior roles with a significant and consistent sphere of influence and accountability.
To drive that progress, the Management Board Banking (MBB) has set two bank-wide gender diversity targets. We are committed to a mix of at least 35% women in senior leadership (Global Job Architecture - GJA - level 22 and above) by 2028 and at least 30% female representation in the leadership pipeline (GJA levels 19-21) by 2025. These targets are not an end-goal in themselves, but are simply milestones to achieving true gender equity at the top.
And because targets are meaningless without action, a bank-wide action plan, based on reliable data and proven solutions, was launched in 2022 to make sustainable improvements to how we hire, progress and retain talented women. Check out this brochure for more details.
We measure our global ‘gender pay gap’, which is the difference between the average pay of all men and women across the bank, across all levels. Companies calculate their gender pay gap to understand and tackle any structural barriers to gender equity. The European Banking Authority requires us to do this from financial year 2023. We’ve started early, disclosing ING’s global gender pay gap for the first time in our 2022 Annual Report.
The gender pay gap (GPG) exists in most, if not all, companies as it reflects the broader societal challenge around gender equality. A gender pay gap does not mean that women are paid less than men for doing the same work. ING does an annual Equal Pay For Equal Work analysis to make sure that individual men and women who have the same or similar jobs and do work of equal value, are paid the same. Although it’s sometimes appropriate to pay employees differently even when they’re doing similar jobs (e.g. because of differences in skills or performance), where unexplained gaps are found we put remediation plans in place.
Research and the experience of others show that too few women in senior leadership roles is the biggest contributor to our GPG. Our bankwide actions to improve gender representation and equity will therefore also work to address our GPG.
Our stance on discrimination
Discrimination includes any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of gender, gender identity, cultural background, experience, religion, race, ethnicity, disability, family responsibility, political opinion, sexual orientation, social origin or any other status, that has the effect of nullifying or impairing equal opportunity or treatment in employment.
Any distinction, exclusion or preference not based on the inherent requirements of the job is deemed as discrimination. At ING, we denounce all forms of discrimination. We are working together to create an inclusive workplace and, in turn, play our part in building an inclusive world. To support our ongoing efforts to create meaningful change, we have measures that aim to keep discrimination from happening within our company – towards both our customers and employees. For example, our Global Code of Conduct lists 10 core principles that we expect from employees. These include our aim to create and maintain a safe working environment and that we encourage speaking up to report misconduct. The ING Global Code of Conduct builds on the values and behaviours of our Orange Code and applies to all ING business units in all countries worldwide.
Pride at ING
While there is no doubt the world has come a long way since the Stonewall Uprising in 1969, there is still a lot more we can do to build an inclusive society, and workplaces play a big part in this. More than one third of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) people feel they need to hide who they are at work, and a fifth feel that being LGBTQI+ limits their job opportunities (according to a recent Stonewall survey). ING supports LGBTQI+ rights globally. We are committed to creating an inclusive environment where our LGBTQI+ colleagues can progress and develop their careers without fear of discrimination and/or harassment.
We were the first company to sign the Declaration of Amsterdam – a global statement of support for LGBTIQ+ rights and inclusion in the workforce.
We are a founding partner of the 'Workplace Pride - International platform for LGBTIQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer) Inclusion at Work'. Its activities include the International Workplace Pride Global Benchmark. This benchmark scores companies in eight areas and identifies best practices, looking into ways to raise the standards.
In 2022, ING scored 78.8% in the global benchmark. Our ranking improved to 82.07% in 2023 earning us the recognition of Workplace Pride Ambassador. ING is dedicated to having an LGBTQI+ inclusive culture and our Rainbow Lions networks across 10 locations have played an important role in shaping this.
Bloomberg Gender Equality Index
ING is one of the 484 firms recognised in the 2023 Bloomberg Gender Equality Index (GEI) as a company committed to a more equal and inclusive workplace. The Index offers public companies the opportunity to disclose information on how they promote gender equality across five separate areas: female leadership & talent pipeline, equal pay & gender pay parity, inclusive culture, sexual harassment policies, and pro-women brand. In 2023, ING scored 72.3% - again an improvement from the 70.35% score from 2022. This is the eighth year in which we are included in the listing.
ING supports and commits to UN initiatives
- We support the UN standards of conduct for business on tackling discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans & intersex people.
- We have committed to the UN Global Compact's Women Empowerment Principles.
We support and commit to these UN initiatives because we believe that differences in age, background, gender, physical ability, sexual orientation and religious beliefs contribute to a stronger ING that is better equipped to respond to challenges and opportunities, and to support sustainable change in society.
Endorsing the UN initiatives are important steps to demonstrate to ourselves and others that we take equality seriously, and to also guide how we promote equality in practice.
Diversity Leaders 2022: recognition by Financial Times
ING has been officially recognised by the Financial Times as a diversity leader and one of Europe’s most inclusive companies. In an independent study that assessed employees’ perception of companies’ inclusiveness or efforts to promote various aspects of diversity, ING was listed in 225th place out of 850 companies. The Financial Times looked at a wide range of employers focusing specifically on gender, age, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation.