Addressing gender balance

An equal participation of men and women in our workplaces will improve both company profitability and the global economy. We are committed to improving gender balance at all levels in our business from early careers up to and including the Board.

HMT Women in Finance Charter

Standard Life Aberdeen were among the first signatories to the HM Treasury Women in Finance Charter in 2016, demonstrating our commitment to inclusion and diversity  and pledging to increase gender balance in our senior management populations and across our industry.

Following our merger in 2017, we recommitted to the Charter and published our targets (detailed below) for the combined business in our 2017 Annual Report and Accounts.

Our progress

As at December 2018,  we had increased our representation of women in senior roles (CEO-1 and CEO-2) to 34%, a 7% increase since December 2017. This progress is in the context of significant change for our business, with an organisational design that continues to evolve following two large corporate transactions  - the merger of Standard Life plc and Aberdeen Asset Management in 2017 and the sale of our UK and European insurance business to Phoenix Group in 2018.

We are pleased with the progress we have made to date but are not complacent and recognise more needs to be done, particularly at Board level and with our Executive Committee.

Our focus and actions are to reduce volatility and make sure that this is sustainable in the long term. We know that representation levels are vulnerable to the business changes we are going through and we want to achieve stable representation of women at all levels.

Gender pay gap

In 2018 we reported our first Standard Life Aberdeen gender pay gap.   Last year we shared separate data sets for Standard Life and Aberdeen Asset Management employing entities, as these were calculated before the merger. As at April, 2018, our mean gender pay gap was 40% and our mean gender bonus gap was 69%.   Our pay gap is primarily the result of our workforce structure, with a greater number of men in senior roles- the roles that attract higher salary and bonus- and a greater number of women in junior, lower paid roles.

We believe our actions to address our gender pay and progression imbalance are the right ones and they are making a difference.

You can read more about our gender pay gap and how we are addressing this, in our gender pay gap report.

Our gender action plan

To help improve our gender balance and reduce our gender pay gap  we  have a gender action plan (PDF) which we publish each year.

This is our second gender action plan, and reflects our progress as at August 2018 as well as areas of focus for the coming 12-18 months. It has been created with our people to produce commitments that we all believe in, and is sponsored by our CEO Keith Skeoch.

We aim for an inclusive workplace where everyone feels they can be themselves and are valued for what they bring. We are working to achieve gender balance at all levels of our business, up to and including our Board, and in line with the gender representation targets we have set.  We aim to see year on year progress towards these and recognise this will be achieved not only by the initiatives in our plan, but by considering diversity and inclusion in all of our actions and decisions.

Download the gender action plan (PDF)

Our targets

 Target % by June 2020Actual % 31 December 2017Actual number 31 December 2017Actual % 31 December 20181Actual number 31 December 2018
Board33254 of 162523 of 12
Executive3(CEO-1 and CEO-2)332749 of 1833480 of 235
CEO-133206 of 30206 of 30
CEO-2332843 of 1533674 of 205
Whole global workforce504474,569 of 9,651452,801 of 6,192
Whole UK workforce504473,643 of 7,803452,119 of 4,727


1. 31 December 2018 Data is prepared in accordance with our reporting methodology and the KPIs are within KPMG’s limited assurance scope. Both KPMG’s limited assurance report and our reporting methodology can be found at
2. Although the percentage is the same compared to 2017 data, out Board composition was different, i.e. 4 women from 16 Board members. Our CFO and CIO, who sit on our Board, are included in both our Board and Executive populations
3. People employed in roles across the two leadership levels below CEO, excluding admin  employees.  Our CEO and CIO, who sit on our Board, are included in our Board and Executive populations

4. 3% tolerance