Global insurance body leads by example on gender gap

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) is showing the way by voluntarily publishing the results of its gender reporting, ahead of a government deadline next April requiring larger employers to do the same.

The CII will, in fact, not be required to do so even then as it is an employer with fewer than 250 employees but says it is “encouraging firms in the insurance and financial advice sectors to start disclosing their gender pay information ahead of next April’s deadline, regardless of whether or not they are required to”.

It adds, “In issuing the ‘call to action’ the CII is leading by example by doing so itself – five months in advance – despite the fact it is exempt by being under the 250-employee threshold.”

It found that its own mean hourly pay gap is 28%, (compared to a sector average of 47% and national average of 14%), as shown in the below chart.

The median hourly rate gap is 18% compared to sector average of 37% and national average of 10%.

‘More men than women at higher end of pay scale’

A CII spokesperson explained that the difference was mainly explained by the fact that there were more men than women at the higher end of the pay scale, such as board members (though the chief executive is a woman, Sian Fisher, pictured above).

The picture is better on the median scale and the spokesperson poined out that 57% of CII employees are women.

The move comes alongside the publication of a CII-commissioned report on its own gender policies, called Mind the Gap.

The CII said that, as one of the first signatories of the Women in Finance Charter, the CII has pledged to promote gender diversity and inclusion by:

  • Having a senior executive team responsible and accountable for gender diversity and inclusion
  • Setting a three-year internal target for gender diversity in our senior management including;
    • 30% female representation on the CII Executive
    • 30% female representation on the CII Board

“The data that firms are sharing between now and April 2018 is only the start,” said Fisher.

Aiming for ‘significant improvement’

She added that CII’s stakeholders wanted to see evidence of what it is doing “individually and collectively” to reduce the gap, and that they will expect to see “significant improvement” in future years.

“We are a strong profession, and when we behave with confidence and purpose the public will trust us to deliver,” she said.

“However, if we are opaque or make excuses,” she continued, “they will question our ability to treat customers, as well as employees, fairly.

“Publishing our gender pay information is an opportunity to show that we recognise that we serve the whole of society, and we should take this opportunity.

‘Leading by example’

Emphasising that the move represented the CII leading by example, she said: “I am encouraging all businesses in the insurance sector to publish their data openly, even if like the CII, their headcount is lower than the threshold required by the rules.

“She added that the public and CII employees will expect to see a “positive, transparent and joined-up approach” to dealing with gender reporting.

She said that this was the “first step in an ongoing process”, saying that for now,the focus was not on the size of the gap, “but what we, as a profession, are prepared to do about it – and it must be more than the bare minimum”.

She concluded by saying, “Such a commitment is the foundation on which our culture is based and we are asking all those who work in our sector to join with us to tackle and resolve the gender gap.”

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eugene Costello
Eugene Costello has been a journalist for some 20 years, and has written for a wide variety of UK and international newspapers and magazines.

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