Diversity and Inclusion



Diversity and Inclusion

8 min read June 17, 2020

Leading with inclusion

Sweeping changes continue to redefine our marketplace and workforce with direct implications for diversity and inclusion. We are responding to these changes in a significant way with a data-driven approach to championing inclusion at every level, through every individual, and within every region in which we operate.

From insights to inclusion in action

Inspired by our purpose and our Next Horizon strategy, we believed we needed to forge a new path forward for diversity and inclusion to positively impact our transformation. Therefore, we took a data-driven approach to assess the factors essential to driving high organizational performance and business results. We conducted a global Inclusion and Diversity Insights study to gain an in-depth understanding of the climate and culture of inclusion across MetLife. A core part of the insights study included a series of anonymous online focus groups we called Inclusion Labs, designed to bring together colleagues from around the world to listen and learn about their attitudes, perceptions, and experiences of inclusion at work. The insights gathered from the study, along with our MyVoice survey, external trends, research, and benchmarks, inform our strategic foresight and actions.

Diversity and
Insights Study

Global Diversity and Inclusion Insights Study An animated illustration showing stats on Global Diversity and Inclusion Insights Study An animated illustration showing stats on Global Diversity and Inclusion Insights Study

4 languages

4 levels of inclusion: Organizational
Senior Leader

Social Capital
D&I Initiatives

7 one-on-one
interviews with
selected stakeholders
and senior leaders
from business and
functional areas
and regions

11 online focus groups
including participants
from EMEA, Asia,
LATAM, and the U.S.

325 respondents1

27 markets

1Representation from all regions, job levels, ages, genders, and ethnic and racial groups.

Companies focused on inclusion are:    

Key highlights — Global Diversity and Inclusion Insights study

  • Overall, respondents expressed having a positive experience with inclusion at the team level and are highly committed to MetLife.
  • Some respondents expressed that they would like to see more engagement in D&I initiatives at senior levels. 
  • We understood from the feedback that a greater focus on inclusion and transparency of outcomes is needed as well as increased accountability for diversity and inclusion.

Our findings underscored the research conducted by Catalyst: the more psychologically safe employees feel at work, the more likely they are to feel included in their work groups. Furthermore, employees who feel included report higher levels of innovation and team citizenship.

Our path forward: Strategic priorities

Our goal is to build a purpose-driven and inclusive culture that energizes employees to make a difference. Based on learnings from our Insights Study, we know that greater inclusion will allow us to better leverage the strength of our diversity of talent, helping MetLife become well-positioned, structured, and equipped to continue our progression as a leading company. Accordingly, we have set three priorities to help realize these performance gains:

  • Champion inclusion: Cultivate an inclusive workplace culture with the right behaviors and actions.
  • Strengthen our diversity: Increase representation and leverage current workforce diversity to innovate for the future.
  • Grow our impact: Strategically position MetLife as a leading company for diversity and inclusion.

For the fifth consecutive year, we were listed on the Bloomberg Gender Equality Index, which evaluates companies on their employee policies, representation of women within leadership, product offerings for women, and community engagement.

Commitment at the top

Our President and CEO Michel Khalaf signed three public pledges that reaffirm MetLife’s commitment to cultivating inclusion and advancing gender equality across our organization. These include: the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge (the largest CEO-driven diversity initiative); One Mind at Work, a global coalition of leaders from diverse sectors committed to transforming approaches to mental health and addiction; and the Catalyst CEO Champions for Change. In making these pledges, our CEO has publicly committed to taking a series of steps to significantly advance our progress in diversity and inclusion. These include amplified efforts in education and transparent communication — as well as sustaining a culture that is willing to tackle the complex and sometimes difficult conversations required for change. 

These pledges collectively mean that MetLife commits to:

  • Continue making our work environment a trusting place to have complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion.
  • Implement and expand inclusive behaviors and minimize bias.
  • Create and share strategic diversity and inclusion plans with our Board of Directors.
  • Accelerate and maintain (where strong) progress in the representation of women, including women of color, in executive, senior-level positions, and the company’s Board of Directors over five years.
  • Benchmark, track, and improve the culture of inclusion within the organization. These actions are now a strategic part of our diversity and inclusion efforts going forward.

We are committed to advancing diversity and inclusion with our workforce

We are focusing our efforts to cultivate an inclusive culture where our diversity of talent will position us to meet the needs of our customers, our shareholders, and the communities we serve around the world. Diversity and inclusion are essential to these commitments. Our long-term aspiration is to be a top company in this area with top quartile performance. To achieve this, we are measuring ourselves against best-in-class benchmarks to monitor our progress and effectiveness.

Critical Element



Why it Matters


Inclusive culture


Gender Diversity and Ethnic/Racial Diversity for Officers

Top quartile performance

Companies focused on inclusion are eight times more likely to achieve business outcomes.


Diverse companies show better organizational and financial performance.

We are committed to a diverse workforce and pipeline

2019 gender representation – global


2019 gender diversity for officers

Global MetLife


2019 ethnic & racial diversity representation — U.S.


2019 ethnic racial diversity for officers

U.S. MetLife


According to a recent report by McKinsey & Company, many women in the corporate workforce are in entry-level positions with limited opportunities to become managers. We have a critical mass of women in entry-level positions ready for advancement and promotion. Globally, women represent over 50% of the workforce and over 40% in management. In comparison with financial and non-health insurance company benchmarks, we have a strong pipeline of ethnic and racial diversity in our workforce with nearly one-quarter at the management and officer levels.

In 2019, MetLife was recognized by McKinsey in its Women in the Workplace 2019 report for our efforts to strengthen representation of women in the workplace. The report provides insights on practices that help companies address the so-called broken rung — obstacles faced by women in gaining entry in management level positions in the first place.

Advancing women in leadership gains momentum

Developing Women’s Career Experience (DWCE) is one of MetLife’s programs to advance women in leadership. It is a 14-month experience focused on career development for high-potential women at the assistant vice president level. Participants are nominated by their managers and should have the ability to assume increased scope and responsibility and aspire to grow into a senior leadership role. Since its inception in 2013, more than 300 participants have completed the program. They report being more confident about their ability to be effective in day-to-day activities and accomplish their leadership aspirations and career goals. The majority have proactively expanded their role and responsibilities within the first six months. Twenty-two percent of participants are promoted within two years — a rate that is more than two times higher than MetLife’s global average promotion rate for women. 

Total promotion rate (to VP-officer) for 2018-2019

All men
All women
Women (Non-DWCE participant)
Women (DWCE participant)
All men
All women
Women (Non-DWCE participant)
Women (DWCE participant)

Gender diversity on our Board of Directors

Companies with gender-diverse boards generally have higher ESG scores, indicating that companies with diverse boards adopt better sustainability practices. Since 2015, more companies have added women to their boards of directors. MetLife is part of the 29% of companies that have three or more women on their corporate boards. We have four women on our Board, including the Chairs of the Compensation Committee and the Governance and Corporate Responsibility Committee. This is one of the highest percentages for financial services companies in the U.S.

Read MetLife's 2019 Diversity & Inclusion Data

Diversity & Inclusion

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1 Officer population (VP+) is a subset of Overall Management. Please see the ESG Scorecard for more information, including the previous years' data.