Diversity and inclusion (D&I) plays a critical role in business resilience, according to new research from Dive In, the global D&I festival for the insurance industry.
The survey was conducted among more than 12,000 registered attendees across more than 30 countries in the run-up to this year’s festival, which is taking place through to Thursday this week.
This year – the festival’s sixth – 70% of its 12,000 attendees will be attending for the first time, which Dive In highlights as a “shift in attitudes” about the importance of D&I. Ninety-seven per cent (97%) of survey respondents agreed that D&I plays a vital role in building resilience to help businesses overcome challenges, and 97% also agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted an even greater need for businesses to focus on building inclusive workplaces.
Respondents were also asked to identify the areas the insurance industry most needs to focus on as a result of new ways of working. Mental health ranked as the number-one concern (44%), followed by gender equality (43%), flexible working patterns (41%), and culture and ethnicity (34%).
However, the survey found regional differences in priorities. Attendees in Latin America – where many countries are hosting a Dive In event for the first time this year – said that gender equality should be the industry’s top D&I concern, while both the UK and the Americas named culture and ethnicity as the top concern amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.
“The research is clear,” said Jason Groves, global director of media relations for Marsh and chair of the Dive In Committee. “D&I is not just good for business, it’s essential. Now more than ever, D&I has to be integral to an organisation’s business strategy.”
“Our ambition with Dive In has always been to reach outside the echo chamber and speak to those who may not be as familiar with the value of D&I,” said Day Bishop, director of insurance consulting and technology at Willis Towers Watson. “Thanks to a new virtual format and the tireless work of over 500 volunteers from across the world, the festival is now far more accessible to those who haven’t been able to attend in the past – either due to geography, time, or cautiousness over the value of D&I. the staggering numbers of participants who have never attended before show we have overcome this barrier, while also demonstrating a desire across the market to learn more and make a positive change.”