Women make up less than 7% of CEOs in insurance sector

Women make up less than 7% of CEOs in the insurance sector (29 out of 431 CEOs in the UK insurance industry), according to research by specialist employment law firm GQ|Littler.

This figure is matched by low representation in other senior roles in the insurance sector (see table below for breakdown of figures). Women account for only 16% of CFOs in the insurance sector (63 out of 390) – and less than 11% of chairpersons are woman (43 out of 407).

Caroline Baker, partner at GQ|Littler, argued that the figures show progress for the insurance sector – though much room for improvement remains.

Baker added: “The insurance sector is making positive steps when it comes to gender diversity at the top level. Insurance has long been seen as a male-dominated but there is still much to do.”

“It’s important to stress that – while improvements are being made – the proportion of women in senior roles in insurance remains markedly low. Low rates of diversity at the executive level can open a company up to employment law disputes.”

“A lack of gender diversity amongst senior executives at a business can make it easier to bring a successful sex discrimination claim against that employer. Conversely, it can be helpful in defending a sex discrimination claim where the business has consistently taken significant steps to improve gender diversity and actively promotes measures which help women to step into more senior roles.”

She also noted that an intentional approach to improving gender diversity is required. Measures to get more women through the door are not enough – it is important to create the environment which makes women want to stay too. This goes beyond a business ensuring it has inclusive benefits and policies. It is about providing support, training and mentoring both for women and for male managers to empower them to maintain an inclusive environment.

“Having a flexible mindset is really important. Making material changes to how senior staff work, like offering hybrid working, are important to helping businesses to not only retain women but nurture their careers too,” Barked said. “The hope is that as more women take on senior roles, more and more women have roles models to look up to.”