The insurance industry has made great progress towards gender parity in the workforce, especially in comparison to other industries in the financial sector. Recent years have seen an emphasis on increasing the number of women in senior executive positions. The Association of British Insurers found that as of 2021, 29% of Board roles are held by women and 24% of executive positions.
However, there is still work to be done in ensuring better opportunities for women in the sector. Women are entering the profession in greater numbers but as positions become more senior in fulltime roles men still outnumber women, whilst women are over-represented in part-time roles.
The situation is even more unequal for women of colour. The number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) employees at entry level is 10% yet this figure drops to only 2% at Board and Executive level.
Clearly, much more can be done across the UK insurance industry to encourage and support diversity.
Benefits of diversity in the workplace
There are many benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Research has shown that more diverse teams:
- Have increased creativity and innovation: bringing together different perspectives and experiences encourages creativity and the search for novel solutions which together boosts a teams’ problem-solving ability and drives their potential to innovate.
- Find greater opportunities for professional development: embracing a more diverse work environment helps individual team members explore different points of view and gain new insights. Diverse teams are also better able to support one another through training and mentorship schemes.
- Achieve stronger business results: companies with more diverse workforces have frequently been shown to outperform those that are less diverse when it comes to productivity and profitability. Companies with higher proportions of female representation on their executive board were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability than those who did not.
- Contribute to a better company reputation: employees prefer to work for companies that embrace a diverse working culture and customers prefer to buy from companies they feel represent them. Building an inclusive team will make you a top choice for professionals and consumers.
- Are more engaged employees: employees in diverse teams feel more supported and included by their employer, which can lead to a greater sense of belonging and personal engagement in the company’s success.
Diversity and employee engagement
83% of millennials feel more actively engaged when their organisation promotes a more inclusive work culture. But having engaged employees brings benefits beyond employees having a personal stake in the company’s success. A more engaged workforce also leads to:
- Better talent retention: hardworking and talented employees are more likely to want to continue to work for an employer that supports their development and promotes engagement. For employers this means a greater return on investment when it comes to training and lower recruitment costs.
- Better employee health and work-life balance: engaged and supported employees have a better work-life balance. Working environments that support inclusivity, a greater diversity of ways of working and allow for flexibility mean fewer workdays lost to ill health and burnout.
- Greater productivity: more engaged workers have a sense of personal investment in the company they work for. They work harder because they care about the wider business success. But they also work smarter thanks to the diverse environment around them.
How to build a diverse and engaged workforce
What strategies can you employ to foster diversity and inclusion in your company?
- Re-examine the hiring process: audit your recruitment process to see where you usually look for candidates. Take steps to widen your talent pool by looking for candidates where they are. You can also ask your current employees for referrals or offer internships to targeted groups.
- Challenge unconscious bias: we all possess unconscious biases. Make sure your hiring and leadership teams have access to training to allow them to identify and avoid unconscious bias in their working practices. Look too for biased language in any workplace communications such as group emails, company-wide notices, social media and job descriptions.
- Encourage inclusive culture: hiring a diverse team is only the first step. Once you have a team in place it is important to encourage a culture that allows them to join the conversation and share their perspective. Encourage respect, open communication, and a focus on personal growth.
- Build diversity in leadership: if building diversity at every level seems daunting, focus first on diversity and inclusion at the senior or executive level. Leaders play a crucial role in shaping company values and culture.
- Develop mentoring schemes: put into place inclusive mentorship programmes. Mentorship supports and empowers minority employees, helps move skills and knowledge around an organisation and allows mentors to voice concerns for their mentees.
How Davies Resourcing can help you build a diverse and engaged workforce
In an increasingly competitive and regulated environment, the diversity, creativity, and adaptability of your workforce will be critical to future success. At Davies Resourcing we specialise in finding the right individuals to help you build your team in an unbiased, diverse way.
If you would like to find out more about how Davies can help you increase diversity in your hiring process, please get in touch.