At a conference focusing on innovation in the London Insurance Market earlier this week, amazingly, one of the most heated and impassioned debates was around dress-code - particularly as regards on the trading floor in Lloyd's... Whilst the article I have quoted here is focused on the banking sector, it does a good job of supporting a point that dress is a real barrier to entry for many young wannabe-professionals who view insurance as a viable career choice.
A couple of quick points: 1. Insurance is generally not perceived as a sexy industry. 2. 'Graduate-schemes' can be as damaging as they are beneficial, if not done correctly (I am happy to discuss this in detail with any HR professional, and would quote the comments of a talented young person who spoke to me about attending an assessment day run by one insurance entity: '[my experiences of trying to enter insurance] as a recent graduate are that it is not a welcoming environment, and you are very much left feeling as though you are another number on the money making conveyor-belt.').
Let me also state that, outside of the work I do supporting startups, my focus - and that of Flint Hyde generally - is on sourcing strategic level professionals, not recruiting for junior positions. Any work I do with people starting out in their career is more in the way of offering advice and guidance, and (to undermine the perception that everyone in the recruitment industry is mercenary, and money-grabbing) this is something I freely give my time up to do.
The point I'm trying to make here is that there are fantastically talented people out there that the insurance industry would hugely benefit from adding to it's ranks. If it take a change of perspective on something as simple as dress-code to attract them in, surely we as an industry should be more open-minded?
"To provide one example, for men, the wearing of brown shoes with a business suit is generally, though not always, considered unacceptable by and for British bankers within the investment banking, corporate finance, division." It adds: "Issues relating to dress may seem both superficial and relatively simple for individuals from all backgrounds to adopt. "However, interviewees suggested that they do play a material role in the selection process, once again, as demonstration of 'fit'."