Some fantastic insight in the quoted article on approaches to inclusion that can work for employers, and I would recommend anyone that has an interest in instilling varied and differing perspectives in the workforce have a read.
I have thought a lot about this recently, possibly as a result of the recent Dive-In festival (a week dedicated to the promotion of diversity and inclusion in the London Market). The realities of a traditional industry (and insurance is not the only traditional market, a colleague recently mentioned the music industry in a similar light), are that the people with decision making power have generally been in the business for some time. Incumbent businesses have a huge number of legacy challenges to overcome to effectively face the digital age, and one can draw parallels with the workforce as what is still a fairly analogue fragmented industry tackles a hyper-connected integrated digital risk environment.
At the risk of sounding a little like a broken record (if you'll excuse the music reference), is there a chance that the InsurTech moevement could offer a solution? A few things to consider:
- entrepreneurs coming in to the market are addressing problems they themselves have experienced (generally), and so it could be anyone from any background - we all know someone who has had an issue with their insurance at some point in their life, and it is clear that poor service is unprejudiced
- they have no legacy issues to deal with being that they are building a business from the ground up
- diversity is not even a concept they think about, particularly as in my experience the InsurTech community is naturally diverse and varied (perhaps because it offers a platform where all voices are listened to, regardless of accent or tone)
- almost all recruitment for these businesses is focused on skills, skills, and skills - skin colour, gender, age simply doesn't come in to it
Discussions with a couple of passionate protagonists in this space offered me more reassurance of their unbiased views, as they are actively seeking to attract as many different ways of thinking to the sector as possible...
Ultimately this is a cultural issue, one which the industry as a whole needs to sit up and take notice of. I think we'd all benefit by thinking not about who we want to attract, but focusing more on what we are offering to talented people that anyone/everyone will find enticing.
Part of the problem has been ill-conceived campaigns to hire and incentivise more women, ethnic minorities and gay employees. Managers on the receiving end of these start to see diversity as just another initiative, breeding what The Fawcett Society describes as ‘barrier bosses’, who are more than twice as likely to be against equal opportunities at work than the general population.