The Women's Insurance Network on the gender pay gap

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Reactions asked the board of The Women’s Insurance Network (that incudes members from Allianz, Brit, Aviva and Flood Re) about what could be done. Reactions (R): What was the feeling around the gender pay gap and was there a sense this could be fixed or is it too entrenched? Women's Insurance Network (WIN): Insurance has equal numbers of men and women at the lower levels, but women drop out at middle management and this results in few women in executive and board positions. It is widely accepted that there is no quick fix and that hiring a few senior women at board level is not the answer. In many cases, the gender pay gap disclosures have been accompanied by narratives highlighting intent and initiatives to tackle the issue. We see this as being the value of the disclosures and critical in determining the extent of any progress. There are things companies can do to tackle the root causes of the gap and any initiatives will need to deal with the issues of organisational culture and mindset, inclusivity and tone at the top. We need to attract more women into the industry and then develop them to achieve their potential. R: What steps are being taken to address it? WIN: There is no quick fix. We see organisations putting together action plans to tackle the issues - which are different for each firm and therefore the actions will be different. We see common themes around: • challenging recruiters to ensure a balanced candidate list; • challenging development and performance frameworks to ensure female colleagues are supported and not overlooked; • introducing talent and development programmes/mentoring; • unconscious bias training; • supporting women (and men) with parental leave and flexible working. R: Insurance is seen as being male dominated and old fashioned – what can be done to fix this? WIN: Senior leaders are aware we need to attract new talent with diverse backgrounds. If you consider the challenges the industry faces in terms of digital disruption, it is vital we are able to tap into the best talent out there. It is not well understood that there are a range of careers that are available within the insurance industry. There are some initiatives attempting to remedy this, such as London Insurance Life. Organisations will need to join forces to fix this. It may take some time. It will also require engagement and efforts from recruiters, careers services in universities and schools, and professional bodies. Networking organisations also have a role to play in supporting and developing females in the industry. R: The industry is facing a recruitment problem with fewer people coming into it than leaving through retirement – what needs to be done to help young women feel wanted? WIN: Insurance is not a career of choice and it is not well understood that there are a range of careers that are available within it. There are initiatives attempting to remedy this, such as the London Insurance Life, started to attract a new generation into the market. Organisations are unlikely to resolve this on an individual basis and will need to join forces. It will require the engagement and efforts of external parties such as recruiters, careers services in universities and schools, and professional bodies. R: What about other issues such as parental leave, flexitime, working from home, or training towards unconscious bias? WIN: These topics are closely linked and require a culture of agile working, with the right support to attract and retain diverse talent. Increasingly male colleagues want to play a more substantive... CLICK HEADLINE TO READ MORE

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