The most comprehensive survey ever carried out of talent and diversity in the insurance and long-term savings sector has revealed a majority of firms already have programmes in place to promote inclusion at the very top of their businesses.
The data collection, undertaken by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and published the day before the organisation’s Annual Conference, also demonstrates the scale of the challenge faced by the industry when it comes to getting women into top posts.
Headline findings of the ABI’s research, which is based on a data collection covering more than 82,000 staff, include:
- 78% of companies have a diversity and inclusion strategy, with 74% having an executive sponsor for diversity and inclusion.
- 73% of firms have an executive or management development programme that prioritises good gender balance, while 56% have a development programme targeting those that may be underrepresented.
- 78% of companies have already provided unconscious bias training for staff.
- For parents, 33% of firms have a returnship programme to help them with their return to work.
The sector’s current workforce is found to be 16% black, Asian or ethnic minority, compared with 14% in the general UK working age population. On gender, the industry is exactly split 50 / 50 across all levels, but despite this only 21% of executive and 21% of board positions are held by women.
Having said that insurance has been a level playing field as a career for entrepreneurial women since the 1980s. In 1985 Carole Nash founded her classic motorcycle brokerage, built it into a market leader and then sold it 20 years later to Groupama for a reported £80 million.
As regards gender the insurance landscape is very different in 2018 compared to the past; Sam White continues to build up Action 365 in Cheshire, a company she founded in 1999, Inga Beale was appointed CEO of Lloyds of London in 2013, Maria Dancausa (pictured above) is a non-executive director at esure and Jane Tutoki is CEO of Cunningham Lindsay – things are changing rapidly.
Huw Evans, Director General of the ABI, commented:
“The ABI’s new research demonstrates that most firms are not just talking about change but are taking practical steps to make a difference, whether that is for LGBT+ staff or those from ethnic minorities. Investment in training and use of executive sponsors is high but more firms need to invest in returnship programmes to help new parents back to work.
“I know from my own conversations with industry leaders that there is a great determination at the very top of our member firms to tackle this issue. The ABI will continue to do all it can to support this change including conducting this research regularly so the sector can benchmark progress.”