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Inclusion for the future

April 24, 2019

“The UK economy would be £24bn bigger if those from black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds progressed in their careers at the same pace as their white colleagues” Randstad report.

With gender inclusion in the insurance industry improving, the same can not be said for BAME representation. Figures dropped from 15% in 2017 to 13% in 2018[1]. This regression is a reminder that improvements need to continue across all areas of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I). Unlike female inclusion statistics, ethnicity inclusion has hit a glass ceiling in recent years. In fact, figures have sat just above the 10% mark since 2013[2]. With few signs of improving BAME inclusion standards, the industry is at risk of further regression as it continues to shake its white dominated image.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) released their most recent statistics on D&I in the insurance industry. Surveying 103,000 employees across the industry, figures showed a drop in ethnic minority representation. But what does this mean for the industry?

As the number of D&I officers increases and the term gains ever more traction, we consider what it means to be truly inclusive.

The term Diversity & Inclusion encompasses a broad array of responsibilities, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation and many other human differences. The movement will never lose importance, but ethnic minority matters are often unreported. However, a growing talent pool signifies important change.

With three in four London students expected to be from ethnic minorities by 2030[3] and one third of the UK population expected to be an ethnic minority by 2050. The talent pool is broadening and firms which take the impetuses to build an ethnically inclusive culture will benefit most.

Unfortunately, at present, current ethnic inclusion is not entirely ‘inclusive’ enough. The term ‘pale, stale and male’ has never been more appropriate.

In line with dropping representation, the board room level paints an incredibly monotone picture. In a 2017 survey by the Insurance Post, covering 94,000 employees in more than 60 insurance companies and brokerages across the UK, only 3.6% of the executive board were non-white. To contrast, within the same year, the average figure of non-white board room representatives was 5% across all FTSE 100 companies[4].

What’s more, in recent years, only a handful of executive board members in the UK insurance industry space have made their way on to the EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Model list. A list for the most influential ethnic minority promoters in business.  

While it can be argued the insurance market is an ‘old school’ and traditionally conservative industry, with many new regimes finding difficulty to gain traction, BAME inclusion, like all diversity strategies, needs to continue.

Strategies requires both a top down and bottom up approach. For example, the lack of significant role models in the insurance space will lead young talent from ethnic minority backgrounds to feel as though they are unable to progress.

Despite this, there is some room for hope. Inclusion@Lloyds, the branch of Lloyds dedicated to D&I and the annual Dive In events are making headway toward an ethnically inclusive culture. Nonetheless, more can always be done.

The potential benefits of an inclusive atmosphere can not be reiterated enough. In May 2018, the Randstad ‘Paying Attention’ report on salaries in financial services found that companies in the top 25% for ethnic diversity were 33% more likely to achieve profit above the industry average[5].

Rolling out the welcome mat, so to speak, has never been more important. Promoting an inclusive culture will not only make your company more appealing to work for, but insurance firms will capture the competitive advantage of a broadening talent pool. In line with this, we use our extensive bespoke researching capabilities to produce a diverse shortlist report including a wide array of the best talent available.   

For more information on the matter or to find out about our services please contact Matthew Eames, Managing Partner; matthew.eames@eamespartnership.com.

 

[1] ABI, Is the dial shifting? Signs of progress on gender diversity in the insurance sector, 2019

[2] Insurance POST, Insurance Census 2017: Face of insurance, 2017

[3] BBC News, Three in four London students ‘from ethnic minorities by 2030, 2018

[4] Forbes, Top Roles In U.K. Companies Still A 'Closed Shop' If You Are Not White. 2017

[5] Randstad, diversity and inclusion within financial services, 2018