Insurance industry must disprove career ‘myths’ to attract female talent pool
16 November 2015
Many female business students are deterred from entering a career in insurance as a result of numerous industry myths, according to Deloitte, the business advisory firm. The Deloitte Talent in Insurance Survey 2015 found that women were 11.2% under-represented among this year’s insurance-inclined business students. Despite women comprising 61.1% of the 211,000 total business students surveyed, this representation was lower amongst the 6,392 insurance-inclined students at 54.3%.
Richard Baddon, insurance partner at Deloitte UK, said: “There are a number of misbeliefs held by today’s business graduates about the insurance industry that, if not addressed, could see it lose out on an important pool of talent to rival sectors already posing huge competition. Deloitte’s first Talent in Insurance survey in 2014 found that the industry as a whole was deeply unpopular amongst the surveyed students. Despite this wake-up call, the industry has failed to boost its relative standing. As a first step, insurers can attract more graduates by increasing their appeal to women.”
Baddon continued: “Insurance, like many financial services industries, has been typecast with a ‘men in suits’ image. However, in developed markets the number of women working in the sector overall is roughly equal to that of men. In some Asian markets, the proportion of female workers is even higher. Communicating the success stories of women in insurance, particularly those in leadership roles, could shed a more positive light on the industry’s support for gender equality and career development, simultaneously dispelling the male-dominated stereotype.”
The opportunity also exists for insurers to attract more business students, by demonstrating that both a work/life balance and job security can be achieved in the industry. Both of these traits were identified as most important by those students surveyed this year.
More than half of business students (52%) listed their top career goal as achieving a work/life balance. This is even truer of female business students of whom 56% rated it amongst their top three priorities; significantly higher than the 46% of male responders.
Baddon said: “Work/life balance is exceptionally important to today’s business graduates who prize their available downtime. In contrast to its rival sectors, and contrary to some belief, insurers are more strongly associated with flexible working conditions and control over hours. Whilst this is generally known to those considering a career in insurance, it is necessary to communicate this beyond the insurance-inclined talent pool. Combined with other principal qualities of insurance careers, such as its societal impact, could generate interest and boost numbers from elsewhere.”
Job stability was a close second with 43% of those surveyed identifying it as a career goal.
Baddon stated: “This trait is more associated with insurance jobs than work in other sectors. It is typically a less volatile business than other financial sector jobs, and therefore benefits from less hiring and firing based on market cycles.
Baddon said: “It is important that the insurance industry starts to address and dispel the detrimental misperceptions attached to it. The industry is calling out for innovators that are digitally and technologically minded with creative ideas to regain popularity. Tech titans are moving into the insurance space, with the potential for them to become dominant sales channels in future. Insurers must act now to attract those beyond the conservative, innovation-averse talent it has traditionally attracted. The result should see an environment more conducive to diversity.”
About the survey
The Deloitte Talent in Insurance Survey 2015 explores the intentions, aspirations and associations in relation to insurance careers, based on a global survey of 211,000 business students in 30 markets. This included 6,392 insurance-inclined students (students who put at least one insurer in their lists of the five employers they most want to work for). The research is based on a survey conducted by Universum, which polled 1.2 million students and professionals from over 2,000 universities and institutions of higher education in 55 countries in 2014-15.
Notes to editors
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.
Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.
The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.
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