A majority of firms already have programmes in place to promote inclusion at the top of their businesses, according to a survey on talent and diversity in the insurance and long-term savings sector

But the surveys also revealed only 20% of the top jobs are held by women.

The data collection, undertaken by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), demonstrates the scale of the challenge faced by the industry when it comes to getting women into top posts.

Key findings of the ABI’s research, which was based on a data collection covering more than 82,000 staff, include:

  • 78% of companies have a diversity and inclusion strategy, with 74% having an executive sponsor for diversity and inclusion.
  • 73% of firms have an executive or management development programme that prioritises good gender balance, while 56% have a development programme targeting those that may be underrepresented.
  • 78% of companies have already provided unconscious bias training for staff.
  • For parents, 33% of firms have a returnship programme to help them with their return to work.

According to the ABI, the insurance and long-term savings sector’s current workforce is found to be 16% black, Asian or ethnic minority, compared with 14% in the general UK working age population. On gender, the industry is exactly split evenly, but despite this only 21% of executive and 21% of board positions are held by women.

Chart above: Gender representation across company levels. Source: ABI

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Huw Evans, director general of the ABI, said: “Warm words and good intentions are not enough when it comes to addressing a lack of diversity within the insurance and long-term savings industry. Although there is a gender balance across our sector as a whole, four out of five executive and board roles are held by men.

“The ABI’s research demonstrates that most firms are not just talking about change but are taking practical steps to make a difference, whether that is for LGBT+ staff or those from ethnic minorities. Investment in training and use of executive sponsors is high but more firms need to invest in returnship programmes to help new parents back to work.”