Diversity: Do you get it?

Most leaders in the Insurance industry recognise the importance of gender diversity.

It’s been a much talked about subject.

But beyond the chatter, what’s actually being done about it?

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) recently published a report entitled: “Tackling the gender seniority gap”. In it, they cite two McKinsey reports. The first “estimated that advancing women’s equality could add $12 trillion to global growth”. The second found that firms in the top quartile for gender diversity were 15% more likely to have financial returns that were above their national industry average; companies in the bottom quartile for gender diversity were more likely to have returns that were below that average. These are compelling statistics.

For a number of years now, clients have asked their suppliers of leadership talent to present gender diverse shortlists. The problem is often that for certain roles, there just isn’t sufficient female talent with the specific skills, knowledge, and experience to present a gender balanced shortlist.

With such gains to be made, the challenge must be confronted. At Norman Broadbent, we are working with our clients to establish Female Talent Pipelines. This involves extensive research, often globally, to identify female talent, both within an industry and laterally, where skills are transferable. Detailed Talent Maps are prepared and relevant diversity data collated by company and geography. We have already worked successfully with clients in the Construction, Retail, and Professional Services industries, and this is now a service we’re pleased to be able to offer to the Insurance industry.

According to the ABI, one of the main reasons for the disparity between male/female representation in senior roles is working patterns associated with motherhood.  This isn’t an issue unique to insurance; it’s a problem for other industries too. However, some have addressed it more successfully than the insurance sector. The ABI report states that “other industries with a high proportion of senior women have characteristics or have made changes that make it easier for people to work flexibly and still advance. It is likely that these differences between industries are also driving the representation of women in senior positions”.

The behavioural and strategic changes recommended in the report will be driven from the top down, so it’s encouraging to see senior leaders from across the industry getting behind initiatives such as DiveIn and the Inclusive Insurance Pledge.

In the New Year, Norman Broadbent will be hosting a roundtable event, under the Chatham House rule, chaired by the ABI’s first ever female Chair, Amanda Blanc. The aim is to provide senior leaders from across the industry with the opportunity to share their experiences of what works and what doesn’t.

If you would like to hear more about how we have helped firms successfully tackle their diversity challenges, or learn more about our expertise within the Insurance sector, please contact David Cooper for an initial confidential discussion.