The insurance industry is heading in the right direction when it comes to gender diversity, one industry figure has said, but more can still be done.
Deputy chair of the Women’s Council of international industry body ANZIIF and general manager –human resources at NTI, Kerrie Challenor, said that she firmly believes the insurance industry is still on a journey towards gender equality, and it “was never going to be a quick trip.”
“It takes time and although we have talked about it for many years now, proactivity has only happened in recent years,” Challenor told Insurance Business.
“Targets and specific development pipelines for female talent, sponsoring high potential women and development opportunities, has really only taken priority in the last 5 years if that; talent takes time to develop.”
Last year, the Lloyd’s Dive In Festival highlighted the importance of diversity across a number of different areas including gender.
As the industry throughout the Asia Pacific region continues to be hampered by a talent shortage, a better understanding and commitment to diversity could help insurance businesses find the best candidates for their roles.
“We really need to keep thinking of ways to attract women to the Industry and into the more senior roles,” Challenor continued.
“We need to start at university offering a career pathway that provides diversity in professional development and flexible working opportunities.”
The business case for improving equality is strong. Research points to a correlation between diversity in all facets of life in the workplace and improved financial outcomes for businesses.
Challenor noted that to better serve a diverse segment of customers, businesses themselves have to mirror this diversity and the differences that employees can bring to businesses challenges lead to increased problem solving.
For businesses of any size looking to improve their stance on gender equality, Challenor said that communication is key. Discussions with staff around what they need to help increase diversity in the workplace are important as Challenor advised keeping an approach to diversity as simple as possible.
“Every business, regardless of size, can have targets; commensurate to the size of their organisation,” Challenor said.
“What is measured is done and that is never truer than in respect to equality targets.”
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