The Association of British Insurers said its research demonstrated, “the scale of the challenge faced by the industry when it comes to getting women into top posts”.
The ABI claimed it was the “most comprehensive survey ever carried out of talent and diversity” in the sector, covering more than 82,000 staff.
A majority of firms already have programmes in place to promote inclusion at the very top of their businesses, the report suggested.
Headline findings of the ABI’s research included:
· 21% of board positions are held by women.
· 78% of companies have a diversity and inclusion strategy, with 74% having an executive sponsor for diversity and inclusion.
· 73% of firms have an executive or management development programme that prioritises good gender balance, while 56% have a development programme targeting those that may be underrepresented.
· 78% of companies have already provided unconscious bias training for staff.
· For parents, 33% of firms have a returning to work programme.
· The sector’s current workforce is 16% black, Asian or ethnic minority, compared with 14% in the general UK working age population.
· On gender, the industry is exactly split 50 / 50 across all levels, but despite this only 21% of executive
Huw Evans, director general of the ABI, said: “Warm words and good intentions are not enough when it comes to addressing a lack of diversity within the insurance and long-term savings industry. Although there is a gender balance across our sector as a whole, four out of five executive and board roles are held by men.
“The ABI’s new research demonstrates that most firms are not just talking about change but are taking practical steps to make a difference, whether that is for LGBT+ staff or those from ethnic minorities. Investment in training and use of executive sponsors is high but more firms need to invest in returning to work programmes to help new parents back to work.
“I know from my own conversations with industry leaders that there is a great determination at the very top of our member firms to tackle this issue. The ABI will continue to do all it can to support this change including conducting this research regularly so the sector can benchmark progress.”