08 December 2015

Diversity at Nationwide

3 minute read


  • Read about how diversity is taking centre stage here at Nationwide
  • By jointly sponsoring Business in the Community’s Race at Work survey we gain insight into people’s work experiences
  • The diversity of our staff means we are able to represent all of our 15 million customers

During the first week of November we held our Diversity Week where difference was highlighted and celebrated. It was a week where diversity and inclusion were discussed and experts and representatives from various campaign groups and leading institutions came and held workshops and discussions with our employees. Teams from across the business were encouraged to talk about and celebrate their various and unique backgrounds.

In a corporate environment sometimes it can be difficult to talk about differences - especially when it concerns race, which is what I want to focus on in this blog post. Our Diversity Week, however, made it that little bit easier to broach and gave employees at all levels the opportunity to ask questions and talk about both the challenges people face as well as the interesting and varied lives they lead.

At Nationwide we feel it’s important to encourage discussion about certain issues - even where there may still be a degree of discomfort. Only by addressing problems and bringing them into the open can we work together and solve them. This is exactly why we decided to jointly sponsor Business in the Community’s Race at Work report - the largest survey into race at work carried out within the UK. We wanted to start a national conversation and find out about what people’s experiences are in the workplace - with more than 24,000 people participating it’s certainly given us some comprehensive information about race at work from right across the UK.

“Only by addressing problems and bringing them into the open can we work together and solve them.”

The findings have been very interesting. There were some concerning points such as an increase in people witnessing or experiencing racial harassment - something that quite simply can’t be allowed to continue and which is incumbent on all of us to eradicate from the workplace.

The report also found that employees from ethnic minority groups are more ambitious than their white colleagues although this ambition doesn’t seem to translate when it comes to achieving senior management positions. There’s no doubt about it, this is a concern. However, the fact that we now have information like this means we can take action so everyone - irrespective of their background - has the opportunity to achieve their career goals.

Having a diverse workforce means we are able to represent our 15 million customers - all of whom are clearly different. Like many major employers, Nationwide must continue to ensure that inequality in the workplace is quashed and everyone is encouraged and supported to achieve their very best. We’ve already made major strides in this area such as introducing mandatory equality and diversity training for all our employees, launching mentoring schemes aimed at employees who perhaps face more barriers to career progression than most and supporting employee network groups dedicated to ethnicity, gender, disability, faith and sexual orientation. But we can and will do more. After all, with a relationship with one in four households within the UK, we need to make sure we have a culture which gives people the opportunity - no matter who they are - to progress in their career and ensure our workforce mirrors this diverse and vibrant country at all levels.

About the author

Graeme Hughes

Group Distribution Director and Ethnicity Network sponsor Graeme Hughes’ career has been spent almost exclusively with Nationwide since joining the company in 1984 as a Management Trainee.

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