Returning now to the demographic information set out in Figure 6, some interesting observations can be made as to whether and how responses differ by demographic attribute. As described earlier, the colour of each circle shows whether someone with a particular attribute (e.g. working in an area other than London) is in general more or less positive than someone with the relevant base attribute (in this case, working in London), once all other attributes collected are controlled for. The size of the circle then reflects how pronounced this difference is.
Gender For most of the Survey questions, women were more positive about their firm than men. This was the case in Retail, Commercial Banking and Functions, but not in Investment Banking. Across almost all questions there was no difference in perceptions by gender in Investment Banking. The exception was Q17, with women more likely than men to see people turn a blind eye to inappropriate behaviour. We return to this finding later in the Review (see BSB Work Theme 2: Helping to develop a culture of accountability and responsibility rather than of blame).
Time employed by the firm The second of the demographic attributes shown in Figure 6 and one that appears to influence on responses, is the time a respondent has been with their firm. As context, the distribution of firm tenure among survey respondents is shown in Figure 10. Just over half (55%) of respondents had been at their firm for more than seven years, with tenures longest in Retail Banking.
On all questions but one, people in their first year of working at their firm tended to respond more positively than those who had been at their firm for longer. The greatest differences were around believing senior leaders mean what they say (Q1), seeing senior leaders taking responsibility (Q16), being treated with respect (Q5), seeing people try to avoid responsibility in case something goes wrong (Q18), people having the skills and knowledge to do their jobs well (Q20), people delivering on promises (Q25), work having a negative impact on wellbeing (Q29), and firms responding effectively to staff feedback (Q30).
The exception to the pattern was Q19, where people who had been working in their firm for less than a year felt as comfortable challenging a decision made by their line manager as those who had been at their firms longer.
On many questions we observe a pattern where perceptions are most positive at joining a firm (respondents who have a tenure of less than one year), but then fall significantly and remain largely flat, before rising among respondents who had been with their firm for more than 15 years. This uptick among those with the longest tenures is particularly marked in Investment Banking.
A similar pattern has been observed in studies of engagement surveys across a number of sectors, in the UK and elsewhere4. The BSB Survey is not an engagement Survey, and the questions asked are not directly comparable. Our results, are, however, consistent with what the existing body of evidence would suggest about changes in employee engagement over time.
Membership of a professional body Responses from people who said that they were a member of a professional body were in general similar to responses from those who said that they were not.
Having line management responsibility Line management responsibility was one of the two demographic attributes linked to the largest overall differences in Survey responses (the other being tenure at the firm). Those who said that they had line management responsibility were, for almost all questions, more positive about their organisation than those who did not (again, a tendency that will be familiar to analysers of engagement surveys). This difference was often quite marked, most notably with respect to leadership, shared purpose and speaking up. Line managers were marginally more negative on only one question (Q31 ‘Our internal processes and practices are a barrier to our continuous improvement’).
Being in a customer-facing role Respondents who said that they worked in customer-facing roles were more positive than those who said that they did not on Q11 (‘In my organisation people are encouraged to provide customers with information in a way that helps them to make the right decisions’) and Q24 (‘I see the people I work with go the extra mile in order to meet the needs of our customers’). They were, however, marginally more negative on Q9 (‘I believe my organisation puts customers at the centre of business decisions’).
Location Respondents in Northern Ireland, Wales and the West Midlands were in general more positive than those working in London. Respondents in the Channel Islands were by contrast generally more negative in their perceptions. Marked differences by location were observable on four questions, with respondents in London considerably more negative than respondents in just about every other location. These questions were Q7 ‘In my organisation Risk and Compliance are both respected functions’, Q13 ‘In my organisation I am encouraged to share learnings and good practices with others’, Q21 ‘In my role, I am encouraged to continually learn new skills and improve my role-specific knowledge, Q24 ‘I see the people I work with go the extra mile in order to meet the needs of our customers’.