Earlier this month, we celebrated Race Equality Week, an important annual movement in the UK which serves as a time to reflect on the barriers that still exist in achieving race equality in the workplace.
This year the theme of Race Equality Week was #ItsEveryonesBusiness, and at iCAN we wholeheartedly agree with this message.
While great strides have been made towards racial equality in many areas of society, there is still much work to be done to ensure that everyone, regardless of their racial background, has the opportunity to thrive.
The insurance industry is no exception to this reality. Despite being a key player in the global financial services sector, the industry continues to fall under scrutiny for its lack of diversity and representation, especially at the highest levels. In 2021, the ABI found that only 2% of insurance executives were from ethnic minority heritage, even though over 14% of the UK’s working age population is ethnically diverse, and this contrast is even starker when one considers that London - where much of our activity is based - has an ethnically diverse population of 40%. This is particularly concerning given the significant impact our industry has on economies around the world, and the communities we serve.
It is our collective responsibility as an industry to attract and recruit more diverse talent, and provide pathways for their progression within our sector. A financial services survey published in December 2022 found that 45% of ethnic minority employees believe their career progression is lower than white peers, and nearly 40% of ethnic minority employees were likely to search for a new role within six to 12 months. There is simply no time to wait – action is needed now to prevent a brain drain of ethnically diverse talent.
During Race Equality Week we heard the statistic that 75% of race network chairs said PR gesturing is meaningless if proper action is not taken, and so the Big Promise was created to ensure individuals and organisations could make a commitment to action and not just words.
iCAN promises to:
There is much work still to do to provide equal opportunities for all races in our industry. As a network dedicated to advancing multicultural diversity and advancement, iCAN has seen the unique challenges that ethnic minorities often face in progressing their careers in insurance, such as a lack of connections, difficulties navigating the industry, and an absence of role models. Simply hiring diverse talent is not enough; it is important to provide guidance and support throughout their careers, and mentorship is a key component in that effort.
Mentoring is important for minorities in insurance for several reasons:
iCAN recently launched INspire, a self-service mentoring platform which connects members from across the insurance industry with mentors based on their particular needs. Whether a mentee is looking for short term support of a long-term champion, we help to match them with a seasoned senior professional who can provide one-on-one guidance to help them navigate their career goals.
We have over 100 senior employees and leaders from across the market already committed to being a mentor, and we welcome further applications.
To read about our INspire platform, or enrol as a mentee or mentor, visit: https://www.i-can.me/about-inspire
For more information about iCAN and what we do, visit: https://www.i-can.me/.