Since the passing on of International Women’s Day Finitas has been contemplating the role of women in Insurance and the issues of gender diversity in its surrounding sector.
The insurance industry has traditionally been a male-dominated field, but in recent years, women have made significant strides in breaking down barriers and are achieving greater gender equality. However, there are still some persistent challenges that women face in this sector.
Josh Jennings Lead Senior Consultant at Finitas comments that “In the world of Insurance, diversity has become a more and more important issue, and rightly so. We are all different in our unique ways, and this diversity is what makes us special.”
WHAT’S THE ISSUE?
According to the latest statistics from 2023, women account for only 36%[i] of executive positions in the finance and insurance industry. This is despite the fact that women make up roughly 60%[ii] of this sector in England. Furthermore, women are grossly underrepresented in senior management positions. This is a significant gap that needs to be addressed to achieve greater gender diversity across insurance sectors.
One of the main challenges facing women in the insurance industry is the gender pay gap. According to recent data, women in the UK insurance industry earn, on average, 32.2%[iii] less than men in the same roles. This is a stark reminder that despite progress in other areas, gender equality is still an issue. Insurance companies need to take steps to address the gender pay gap, such as conducting regular pay audits and implementing transparent pay structures.
Another issue facing women and minorities in the insurance industry is the lack of diversity and inclusivity. Only 3%[iv] of senior positions in the UK insurance industry are currently held by individuals from ethnic minority backgrounds. This is a concerning statistic, as diversity and inclusivity are essential for creating a positive work environment and attracting a wide range of talent. Insurance companies need to take steps to promote diversity and inclusivity, such as implementing diversity targets and creating inclusive policies and practices.
Gender-based discrimination and harassment are still prevalent in the insurance sector. Women often face challenges related to pay equity, as well as biases and stereotypes that limit their potential to contribute fully to the industry's growth and success. These issues are not only unfair to women but also detrimental to the industry, as they create a culture of exclusion and hinder the development of a diverse and innovative workforce. A non-supportive workplace culture is 10x more likely to make employees quit, and a less engaged and absent workforce can cost U.K. employers up to £36 billion annually[v].
WHAT IS BEING DONE?
Despite these challenges, there is hope for the future, as many insurance companies are taking steps to promote gender diversity and inclusion. Some of these initiatives include mentorship programs, leadership training, and flexible work arrangements, all of which can help to create a more supportive and equitable environment for women in the industry. By working together to address these challenges and create a more inclusive workplace, we can help to ensure that women have equal opportunities to succeed and thrive in the insurance sector.
There are many benefits to having a diverse workforce, including increased creativity, better decision-making, and improved performance. And when we embrace gender diversity, we create a more equitable and just society that benefits us all.
Josh Jennings resumes “Gender diversity is one of the most important aspects of diversity, and it's something that we should all be striving for in our workplaces, communities, and beyond. We all know that gender inequality has been a persistent issue in our society, but the good news is that we're making progress. There are more and more women in leadership positions, more support for transgender individuals, and more awareness around non-binary gender identities.”
To help the pursuit of gender equality within Insurance sectors Jennings recommends using tools such as gender de-coders (have a look at this one! -> Gender Decoder) when writing job adverts and social copy. This helps to eliminate unconscious gender-coding linguistics to create job descriptions that read more inclusively.
“In conclusion”, he continues, “We still have a long way to go. We need to continue to work together to create a world that is truly inclusive and welcoming of all genders. We need to break down the stereotypes and biases that hold us back, and embrace the fact that everyone, regardless of gender, deserves to be treated with respect and dignity.”
[i] The Most Surprising Women Industry Statistics And Trends in 2023, (2023), https://blog.gitnux.com/women-industry-statistics/, (Accessed: March 27, 2023)
[ii] Women and the UK Economy, (3rd March 2023), https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06838/SN06838.
[iii] Finance and Insurance Industries Have Highest Gender Pay Gap, (December 2022), https://thefintechtimes.com/finance-and-insurance-industries-have-highest-gender-pay-gap/, (Accessed: March 27, 2023)
[iv] Why are we still talking about Diversity & Inclusion in 2023?, (February 2023), https://www.insurancebusinessmag.com/uk/news/columns/why-are-we-still-talking-about-diversity-and-inclusion-in-2023-434946.aspx, (Accessed: March 28, 2023)
[v] Insurance Needs More Women in Leadership, (May 3rd, 2022), https://www.insurancethoughtleadership.com/leadership/insurance-needs-more-women-leadership, (Accessed: March 27, 2023)