General Insurance Article - Zurich publishes its UK gender pay gap figures for 2019

Insurer Zurich publishes its gender pay gap figures for its UK business for 2019.

 The numbers. Zurich’s mean gender pay gap has improved by 2.1 ppts at 20.7% compared to 22.8% in 2018. Its median pay gap has also improved by 2.4 ppts to 20.2% down from 22.6%.

 This progress is reflected in Zurich’s mean bonus gap which has reduced by 3.5 ppts to 48.4% in 2019 down from 51.9% in 2018. Its median bonus gap has also reduced 10.3 ppts from 44.9% to 34.6%.

 The main reasons for Zurich’s gender pay gap remain linked to fewer women working in senior and technical roles. This also feeds into the bonus gap which is compounded by the fact that the standard calculation used takes no account of part-time working - when most employees choosing this option are women (91% in April 2019).

 Zurich is tackling these issues head-on through a series of initiatives. Since April 2019 all new roles are available on a part-time working or job-share basis, to encourage more women with family responsibilities to apply for senior roles. It also carried out a review of the wording of job advertisements and has introduced steps to ensure that all long and short lists are made up of a diverse range of candidates. This followed internal analysis and work with the Behavioural Insights Team[i] on a project that helped identify underlying causes of the gender pay gap and ways to reduce it.

 Nine months after launching its part-time jobs initiative, applications from females have increased by over 14% with 50% more women being recruited into senior positions[ii]. These early signs are promising though Zurich’s 2019 data will not reflect the impact of these actions.

 In September 2019 Zurich launched a progressive range of family friendly policies including 16 weeks paid parental leave to all new parents, with extra support for carers, those who’ve had premature babies or have gone through IVF. This sits alongside ongoing promotion of flexible working for all. Zurich is also accelerating the development of its existing talent, especially those in the middle of their careers, through detailed succession planning, training programmes, mentoring and senior sponsorship.

 Commenting on the data, Zurich’s UK CEO Tulsi Naidu said; “Despite the Government suspending gender pay gap reporting in light of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have taken the decision to publish our data. We think it is important we continue to operate as usual, this is an important topic, our data is ready and we are active on new initiatives to reduce the gap further.

 “Our figures show progress and a definite step in the right direction, though we know more work is needed. We’re confident that we’ll make greater strides when we publish next year’s data that should reflect the measures put in place to attract more women into senior roles. We’re looking at how we can tackle pay gaps from every angle – and this will include ethnicity, disability and LGBT in the months ahead. This is part of our aim to make Zurich an attractive place to work, presenting opportunities to the widest possible range of people.”

 Further action

 Early in Careers programme – we’re encouraging more young women to consider a career with Zurich UK through our Intern, Apprentice and Graduate entry routes. More than half (57%) of our apprenticeship intake in 2019 was female (41% of our graduates).

 Youth Skills Programme – inspiring students to consider a career in the insurance industry, currently being extended across schools in all of Zurich’s UK locations. Zurich focuses on schools with higher deprivation indicators (such as above average percentages of students on free school meals) with the objective of reaching students who wouldn’t always have access to such opportunities through friends or family. We have engaged with over 4000 students since beginning this programme in 2016.

 Women’s Innovation Network (WIN) - is now in its 5th year with nearly 1000 members in the UK. The network has three areas of focus – Empower, Enable and Engage – and delivers activities to drive all three. This includes the recent launch of a mentoring scheme ‘matchup’ open to all employees.

 Inclusive Behaviours’ Pledge - Zurich spearheaded the launch of this industry-wide commitment in 2018, to call out unacceptable behaviour and to create a more inclusive work environment across our sector. Over 120 firms are signed up. Within Zurich we have also rolled out new training and communications entitled ‘Dignity@Work’, to ensure that all employees are clear on their rights and responsibilities regarding inclusion.

 Zurich Gender Pay Gap 2019

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