Attracting Diverse Talent in Insurance

As part of our series in the run-up to International Women’s Day 2024, our team is reflecting on the issues that affect women in the industries we operate within, and offering their advice on how we can inspire inclusivity and build a more equal future for all.
In this article, our Senior Consultant for Insurance Kate Grant discusses the image issues that the Insurance industry faces and the difficulty of attracting diverse talent and offers advice on the steps firms can take to rectify this.

The Insurance sector has discovered they have a problem with attracting new talent into the industry at an entry-level: Insurance has a reputation for being a stuffy profession and, arguably, is known for being somewhat of a ‘boys club’, and this is reflected in research conducted: according to data collected by the Women in Insurance Initiative, women occupy only 29% of senior executive roles in the industry, and female representation in senior broker roles is even lower, with just 15.7% of senior broker roles held by women. Equally, the percentage of female staffers in the financial and insurance activities sector has dropped year-on-year, according to a new analysis by Kingsley Napley LLP, and less than 7% of chief executives in the insurance industry are women according to research by specialist employment law firm GQ Littler.

All of this means that the industry is suffering from an aging workforce, resulting in a lack of skills in the market. Building a pipeline of engaged talent is crucial to safeguard the future viability of the industry, but what can firms do to attract a more diverse set of professionals to want to work within Insurance?


Inclusive benefits & packages

Do you review your benefits offering regularly, and are you confident that your benefits are inclusive enough to attract a diverse set of talent? Candidate expectations change all the time, and the same set of benefits that might have been sufficient to attract talent a few years ago won’t be seen as competitive right now. Firms within the Insurance sector are often accused of being set in their ways, but failing to offer benefits that are attractive to women would explain why you are struggling to attract them.  Equally, ensuring that you are proactive in reporting on and analysing your gender pay gap is just as important: according to data published by Statista, the mean gender pay gap for full-time employees working in the insurance, reinsurance, and pension funding industries in the UK during 2022 sat at 12.2%, so more work needs to be done by firms to close the gap.


Flexible work patterns

While many firms seem to be rolling back their flexible work initiatives, this move will significantly hinder efforts to hire not just female talent, but any candidates who have caregiving or alternative responsibilities that they are unable to work around. The introduction of flexible and remote working during covid opened up the possibility of returning to the corporate world for many working mothers, as well as those with limited mobility. Those firms that are able to embrace flexible, remote and hybrid working patterns should certainly do so if they are looking to attract and retain the best talent.


Clear progression pathways

To ensure that new talent considering entering the Insurance market feels that they have the ability to progress and build a career in the industry in the long term, it is vital that the pathway for progression is laid out clearly, and that the targets to hit to get to the next level are fair and even across the business to ensure equality of opportunity for all. Some businesses have actively promoted their diversity targets; ‘Lloyds marketplace for example set themselves a target to reach 35% of women in leadership positions by December 2023.’ But while this is a decent starting point, what is needed is succession planning at an entry-level, and progression into the more senior, decision-maker roles. If the industry has no female professionals who are progressing to senior-level positions, this just sends the message that leadership roles within the industry are unattainable for women. Break the cycle by ensuring your promotion pathways are uninhibited by bias.


The Insurance image problem

One of the biggest issues that Insurance firms are facing when it comes to attracting new talent, particularly when looking at entry-level and younger generation professionals, is the industry’s image problem. Insurance is not necessarily known for being a particularly dynamic or exciting workplace and in fact, it doesn’t have much visibility as a career path at all; many students will often indicate a lack of understanding of the industry and what working within it involves. Those who do have an opinion tend to feel that working in Insurance would be uninteresting and unengaging. This needs to change, and firms need to work to rebrand their image to highlight the rewarding and meaningful nature of working in the industry and communicate the unique selling points of a career in Insurance. Making Insurance more visible and making a case for the career prospects and job satisfaction that it can offer is crucial in competing in the war for talent.