FSCB Employee Survey Results 2022

Key Findings

The seventh annual Financial Services Culture Board (FSCB) Employee Survey shows cumulative improvements in leadership, speaking up and being open to challenge. Less progress is evident on customer focus, and new questions this year relating specifically to the incoming Consumer Duty show particularly wide variation between firms.


  • Over the seven years of the FSCB Employee Survey, sustained improvement has been evident at an aggregate level (i.e. across all firms) in scores relating to leadership; to taking responsibility; and to speaking up and being open to challenge.
  • The period from 2020 onwards has seen more positive scores on personal resilience and wellbeing, as well as a marked change in the way that employees describe their firms. ‘Supportive’ and ‘inclusive’ are now the words most commonly used, with the proportion of employees describing their firms in this way doubling over the past three years.
  • Less progress has been seen on questions relating to customers, and in the areas of responsiveness and shared purpose.  Scores here, while showing some volatility, have essentially flat-lined since 2016.
  • Customer focus questions are of particular interest this year given the incoming Consumer Duty and the importance to firms of having evidence with which to assess and demonstrate performance against this new outcomes-based regulation. In this context, we also asked four additional questions in the 2022 Survey relating to aspects of the new Duty, not already captured in our existing core question set. Responding to these questions:
    • just over half of employees said that it was as easy to cancel a product or service at their firm as to obtain it;
    • two thirds said that their team routinely analysed customer feedback and complaints to help improve;
    • three quarters believe that their firm’s products and services took into account the needs of different consumers; and
    • almost eight in ten felt that their firm was equipped to assist vulnerable customer with different needs.
  • What was striking with respect to these additional questions was the variability of scores among firms; a much wider range than we see in our core questions. This applied also to the proportions of employees who responded that they didn’t know, or that the question was not relevant to their role. While this proportion would be expected to vary by business area – which it did – it also varied considerably between the same business areas across different firms; valuable information for participating firms as they prepare to implement the new Duty and also from an overall productivity and competitiveness perspective.
  • We continue to work on the link between our Survey of culture and tangible outcomes at firms in collaboration with researchers at the Bank of England. The early stages of our work in this area are showing encouraging initial findings and we look forward to sharing more.

“The data series from the FSCB Employee Survey covers the pre-Covid years from 2016, the period of lockdowns and the subsequent and ongoing adjustment to new ways of working. As such, it provides member firms with a unique and valuable perspective on their own organisational cultures, both over time and relative to others. And given its breadth and scale, it allows in aggregate for detailed analysis by demographic group and at the intersections of different groups while protecting anonymity; important insight for any organisation intent on understanding and managing its culture as it affects and is experienced by all of its employees.”

Dame Susan Rice, Chairman of the FSCB

“The FSCB Survey findings are perhaps of even greater interest this year given the increasing emphasis on outcomes-focused regulation. The Survey was designed with outcomes in mind; we define a ‘good’ culture as one that produces good outcomes for customers, clients, the economy and society. In the context of the incoming Consumer Duty in particular, being able to draw on both seven years of customer focus data and an additional set of questions in 2022 relating specifically to the new Duty will, we hope, be of value to participating firms, regulators and others.”

Alison Cottrell, Chief Executive of the FSCB


This was the FSCB’s seventh annual Assessment exercise, the first having been run in 2016. In 2022 the Survey received responses from around 42,000 employees across 23 financial services organisations in the UK1.


Some of the largest improvements in Survey scores since 2016 have been on questions relating to leadership. In 2016, the first year that the FSCB systematically assessed culture at banks and building societies in the UK, 62% of employees felt that senior leaders in their organisation meant what they said and 58% that senior leaders took responsibility if things went wrong. On both these questions there has been a double-digit increase in the percentage agreeing with the statement, taking these figures in 2022 to 73% and 68%, respectively.

Alongside this there have been similar cumulative improvements on questions relating to getting things done within the firm (questions relating to reliability and responsiveness), and – notwithstanding a slight fall in the last two years – on responding effectively to staff feedback.


Alongside improving leadership scores, cumulative positive change has also been seen in questions relating to speaking up, in particular with respect to listening and being receptive to challenge. In 2016, 45% of employees said that people in their organisation did not get defensive when their views were challenged by colleagues; in 2022 this stood at 57%. Over the same time period, the proportion of employees who said that they felt comfortable challenging a decision made by their manager rose from 74 to 81%, and (on a related question) the proportion who felt that people sought and respected different opinions when making decisions at work rose from 74% to 82%.

We continue to see statistically significant differences in the responses to our speaking up questions by ethnicity. 72% of Black and 74% of Asian respondents said in 2022 that they felt comfortable challenging their manager, compared with 84% of White British respondents.

Figure 1: Results to Q19: ‘I feel comfortable challenging a decision made by my manager’ (2022)


In contrast to the trends seen on the leadership and internally focused reliability and responsiveness questions, scores have fallen back on customer focus in 2022 and, on several of these questions, are only slightly higher than in 2016. 75% of employees agreed with the statement ‘when my organisations says it will do something for customers, it gets done’ (78% in 2021, 72% in 2016). 78% say that their organisation innovates in the best interest of customers (also 78% in 2021, 74% in 2016).

We also asked four additional questions in 2022 relating to aspects of the FCA’s incoming Consumer Duty not already covered in our core question set. Unsurprisingly, responses to these questions differed by business area; customer-facing employees and particularly those in Retail Banking roles, tended to answer most favourably, while results were more mixed in Functions. 55% of employees across the sector, ranging from 66% in Retail to just 34% in Functions, said that it was as easy for customers to obtain a product at their organisation as it is to cancel one; and while 85% of Retail employees felt that their organisation was equipped to deal with the different needs of vulnerable customers, just 66% of Functions employees felt this.

The differences by business area related however less to variation in the proportion of negative responses, than to differences in those saying that they did not know or that the question was not relevant to their role; proportions that were higher in Functions, as we would expect.  Excluding those who responded in this way, the differences by business area were much less marked. Given the aims of the new Consumer Duty and the importance of employees in all areas being conscious of their responsibilities to customers, all of these aspects will be relevant to participating firms.

What was also striking about the responses to the additional Consumer Duty related questions, was the wide variation in scores between firms, and more importantly between the same business areas across different firms. These ranges were much wider than we are accustomed to seeing in our core question set; again, useful information for leadership teams and boards as they prepare to implement the new Duty and ensure that it is fully rooted in the firm’s organisational culture.

Figure 2: Consumer Duty question results, by detailed business areas

At my organisation it is as easy for customers to cancel a product or service as it is to obtain it

In my team we routinely consider analysis of customer feedback and complaints to improve how we do things

I believe the products and services designed by my organisation take into account the different circumstances and needs of our customers

At my organisation we are equipped to assist vulnerable customers with their different needs


The two questions which saw the largest improvements in 2022 related to personal resilience. 37% of employees, from 43% in 2021, said that they often felt under excessive pressure to perform at work; 20%, compared with 24% in 2021, said that work had a negative impact on their health and wellbeing.

Looked at in the context of the data series as a whole, the scores on these two questions showed little change (in aggregate across all firms – the same is not necessarily true of any individual firm) between 2016 and 2019. In 2020 however, responses were much more positive as organisations responded to Covid-related lockdowns as well as wider social change. Leadership scores and related questions (such as responding to employee feedback) also rose at this time. While wellbeing scores dipped slightly in 2021, losing about half their 2020 gains, they rose back above their previous 2020 highs in 2022.

Looking at the responses by work patterns, the 64% of respondents who reported that they worked mainly from home answered these questions slightly more positively than did the 20% who worked primarily on-site at a work location.

There remains a large difference in the way that these two questions are answered between respondents who say that they have a disability and those who say that they do not. While those in the former group tend to answer more negatively across the core question set as a whole, the gap is most evident on these questions about health and wellbeing.

Figure 3: Results to health and wellbeing questions

FSCB Survey questions on health and wellbeing, 2016 to 2022

Alongside the changes over the past two years in scores on personal resilience, the way that employees described their firms has also shifted. Words such as ‘supportive’, ‘inclusive’ and ‘flexible’ appeared much more frequently in 2020, and this tendency has continued to strengthen. In 2022 around 1 in 10 respondents used ‘supportive’ as one of three words to describe their organisation, taking it to the top of our word count list; ‘customer’, the previously most frequently used word, was squeezed out to third place, displaced also by ‘inclusive’.

Q37: ‘What three words would you use to describe your firm?’
2022 Rank Rank change from 2021 Word % of respondents
1 +1 supportive 9.7%
2 +4 inclusive 8.3%
3 -2 customer 7.9%
4 -1 ethical 6.3%
5 -1 caring 6.2%
6 +6 large 6.1%
7 +1 focused 5.5%
8 +1 bureaucratic 5.5%
9 -4 flexible 5.1%
10 = fair 5.1%


As noted already with respect to particular questions, responses to our Survey can vary considerably with respect to demographic characteristics, individually or in combination. An important benefit of the large data set provided by the collective enterprise of FSCB members is the ability to analyse the data from the perspective of diversity and intersectionality to an extent that is not possible for the vast majority of firms without breaching respondent anonymity. While the overall picture will not necessarily mirror the circumstances of any individual firm, it nevertheless provides valuable evidence and a starting point for further information gathering and action where none would otherwise be available.

In 2022, as in previous years, women were more positive about their firm than men across most Survey questions. One of the few exceptions was on turning a blind eye to inappropriate behaviour where a greater proportion of women (15%, compared to 11% of men) said that they see people in their organisation do this. In addition to the differences on some of the speaking up questions by ethnicity, Black and Asian respondents had less positive perceptions about ethical behaviour at their firm than other ethnic groups; White British respondents tended to answer most favourably across these questions.

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 exception to the pattern was on feeling comfortable challenging a decision made by a manager where there were no significant differences by tenure. Line managers and those subject to the Senior Managers Regime responded more positively across most questions, compared with those without line management responsibilities and those not subject to the Senior Managers or Certification Regime.

These results and an accompanying video with FSCB Head of Data Science and Assessment, Nick Wainwright, explaining the key findings, underlying analysis and how to interpret the graphs will be made available at https://financialservicescultureboard.org.uk on Wednesday 16 November.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, please do contact us at info@FSCB.org.uk.


Figure 5: Consumer duty question results, overall and by business areas
‘At my organisation it is as easy for customers to cancel a product or service as it is to obtain it’
‘In my team we routinely consider analysis of customer feedback and complaints to improve how we do things’
‘I believe the products and services designed by my organisation take into account the different circumstances and needs of our customers’
‘At my organisation we are equipped to assist vulnerable customers with their different needs’
Figure 6: FSCB Survey results over time, percentage of respondents answering favourably

*Note: Q2, Q4, Q14, Q17, Q18, Q27, Q28, Q29 and Q31 are negatively phrased statements. For these questions, the charts show the proportion of respondents disagreeing with the statement as this indicates a more favourable response. For all charts therefore, an upward sloping line from left to right indicates an improvement in the proportion of positive responses received to the FSCB Survey over time.

Interpreting these charts: Each chart tracks the percentage of favourable responses (i.e. overall agreement for positively phrased questions, disagreement for negatively phrased questions) for one of the 36 core questions in the FSCB Survey over time. The questions are arranged into nine columns, according to which characteristic of the FSCB framework they fall under.

Example chart with scaling: