Insurance broking and gender diversity

Insurance as an industry is getting serious about increasing diversity, fixing unconscious bias and starting to have serious discussions about related topics.

We spoke to Rebecca Wilson, General Manager, Austbrokers about women in broking. Rebecca believes that the right person for the job gets the job and feels she didn’t have any barriers to progress her career as a broker.

However she says “Women do struggle to self-promote particularly amongst their male counterparts. I don’t think the Insurance Broking profession has an intentional gender bias however I do think at times assumptions are made that women don’t necessarily want the senior roles particularly working mothers.

“It is very important that clear discussions are had around career progression – not just for women for the work force in general. Companies need to ensure that they have a work place that promotes equal opportunity to everyone in the business, acknowledgement and praise for a job well done goes a long way.”

She believes the hardest part might be getting to the mid senior level. In order to do that at some point as a young professional particularly a young woman professionals will need to voice their ideas, promote their ability and be comfortable in environments where they may be the minority.

She emphasises “Actions speak louder than words. Company culture is incredibly important and heavily impacted by those who hold management roles. In order to create a culture that is inclusive of woman in the workplace it is important that people can look to the top and see that reflected not only just heard in values sessions or media coverage.

“I think the insurance industry has come a long way in regards to the inclusivity of women. However this would have been far more challenging for the women who carved the way before me. I’d like to hope that for each generation the gap gets smaller and smaller. Those who have walked before us play an imperative role in passing on advice about how to navigate the challenges faced by women and this may sometimes be as specific as what to ask for in your next performance review.”

You can read more about this topic including comments from stalwarts in the industry on the subject in the December issue of Insurance Adviser magazine.