In 2017, SEB began a structured process to advance its positions with respect to inclusion and diversity. A cross-functional working-group launched activities in all countries and geographies to raise awareness and map the current situation. In 2018, a head of inclusion and diversity was appointed, and the following year a group-wide inclusion and diversity policy was adopted. Since March this year, SEB is also a member of Diversity Charter Sweden, a non-profit association to promote workplace diversity.
Variety of perspectives
The policy and the Group’s inclusion and diversity work are based on the conviction that a broad variety of perspectives, knowledge and experiences contributes to greater creativity, promotes innovation, and leads to better decision-making and risk management.
“To me it is pretty simple. A team that caters for many different points of view and have broader set of perspectives and experiences will always outperform a team that lacks a difference of perspectives, experiences and opinion”, says Johan Torgeby.
The diversity policy states that SEB respects and appreciates differences in personality, professional backgrounds and education as well as individual differences with respect to age, gender, geographic origin, sexual orientation and disability.
“SEB shall be a place where everyone is valued and respected regardless of their personal identity. Everyone shall have the same opportunities to achieve their full potential”, says Johan Torgeby.
The policy also lays out a clear ambition that the composition of SEB's workforce should reflect its customer base and the societies where SEB is locally present.
“This is important both for commercial reasons and to take our social responsibility as an employer,” says Mia Hamstedt, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer in HR. “Therefore, we are working actively to increase diversity in all aspects.”
The statistics that SEB may keep about its employees are only data that are related to the employment, e.g. age, gender and the country in which the person is employed.
The bank is not allowed to keep records of employees' ethnicity/nationality, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation or disability.
However, by using anonymised personnel data, SEB in Sweden can, with the help of Statistics Sweden, obtain statistics on the proportion of personnel with a foreign background (this includes persons born abroad and/or whose both parents were born abroad). This can then be set in relation to what it looks like for the population as a whole.
SCB’s data shows that 25.9 per cent of the Swedish population had a foreign background at year-end 2020. For SEB in Sweden, the number is lower, but growing. Data shows that the number of employees with a foreign background has increased by nearly four percentage points during the last four years, from 16 per cent in 2016 to 19.6 per cent in 2021. The share of managers with a foreign background increased from 10 per cent to 14.3 per cent during the same period.