Diversity, inclusion and belonging

... min read

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.

Everyday inclusion

Fairness and inclusion are at the heart of what we do and what 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.

Global D&I policy

Our vision is to unlock our people’s full potential through our inclusive culture where everyone has the opportunity to develop and have impact for our customers and society.

To achieve this vision, our D&I policy commits us to:

  • Actively support diversity, equity, and inclusion and embed a culture where everyone is valued and treated with dignity and respect.
  • Ensure that people leaders work in partnership with their teams to create and sustain an inclusive working environment where everyone's unique contribution is valued and where everyone feels a sense of belonging.
  • Ensure that decisions affecting employment, learning and development, promotion and career development are based on an individual's ability and reflect genuine requirements of the job.
  • Conduct annual analyses of our global gender pay gap and equal pay for equal work as part of our commitment to denounce discrimination and to promote equal remuneration for work of equal value for all employees.
  • Provide everyone with the appropriate information, and training, on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
  • Make the necessary adjustments to meet the needs of people with disabilities where reasonable and practicable to do so.
  • Strive continually to provide people with a working environment that is free from discrimination and/or harassment of any kind.
  • Behave in accordance with the values and behaviours of our Orange Code which applies to all ING business units in all countries worldwide.

Diversity of leadership

Diverse leadership fosters a diversity of views and experiences and facilitates independent opinions and sound decision-making.

We have set the following gender diversity targets for the Executive Board and Supervisory Board of ING Groep N.V.

  • Executive Board (EB): in accordance with the Gender Diversity Act which came into force in the Netherlands on 1 January 2022, the gender diversity target for the EB is set at 30 percent.
  • Supervisory Board (SB): in accordance with the Gender Diversity Act which came into force in the Netherlands on 1 January 2022, the gender diversity quota for the SB is one third men and one third women.

Furthermore, two bank-wide gender diversity targets have been set to drive progress on gender diversity in leadership roles. These targets are not an end-goal in themselves but are simply milestones to achieving true gender equity at the top. We are committed to:

  • at least 35 percent women in senior leadership by 2028
  • at least 30 percent women in the leadership pipeline by 2025

Our stance on 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. Discrimination includes any distinction, exclusion or preference made on the basis of age, sex, gender identity or expression, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, family responsibility (including pregnancy, maternity, paternity and adoption), partnership status, cultural background, religion, race, ethnicity, physical or mental disability, nationality, political opinion, 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.

Our approach

Our approach is structured and based on evidence about what works, which means we aim to do four things.

our approach to diversity, inclusion and belonging

  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 aim to remove 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, tools and training they need to incorporate DIB in their management style.

Taking action

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 2024 include:

  • Leadership development on inclusion-in-action.
  • Measuring sentiments of inclusion via an inclusion index in our internal annual Organisational Health Index (OHI) survey
  • Enabling our employees to voluntarily share diversity information through self-identification
  • Going from awareness to action on accessibility and disability inclusion
  • Supporting expectant, new and working parents

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.

Senior leadership

(GJA 22+)*

piechart: distribution of men and women in senior leadership roles: Men 71% / Women 29%

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.

Leadership pipeline

(GJA 19-21)*

piechart: distribution of men and women in three levels below senior leadership roles: Men 73% / Women 27%

GJA 19-21 are the only three levels below senior leadership bank-wide 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. 62,000

piechart: gender distribution of staff working at ING overall: Men 49% / Women 51%

* 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% representation of women 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.

Gender Pay

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’re disclosing ING’s global gender pay gap for the second time in our 2023 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 verify whether 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.

gender pay gap infographic

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.

Workplace Pride 2022 Ambassadors

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.

For 10 consecutive years, ING has improved its score in the Workplace Pride benchmark. In 2023, we achieved a score of 82.07% 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

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.

Workplace Pride 2023 Ambassadors

ING supports and commits to UN initiatives

Free & Equal - United Nations for LGBT equality
  • 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.
UN Women's 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

‘Diversity Leaders 2022’ recognition by Financial Times

ING has been recognised by the Financial Times as a diversity leader and one of Europe’s most inclusive companies. The Financial Times looks at a wide range of employers focusing specifically on gender, age, ethnicity, disability and sexual orientation and conducts an independent study that assesses employees’ perception of companies’ inclusiveness or efforts to promote various aspects of diversity. In 2022, ING was listed in 225th place out of 850 companies and in 2023, ING was listed in 137th place out of 850 companies.

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