Insurer CEO lays down gender gap gauntlet

The CEO of Australia’s largest life insurer has issued a challenge to corporate Australia to do more to close the gender pay imbalance.

TAL Group CEO Jim Minto says his firm made a commitment two years ago to close the gender pay gap and since then the ratio of female to male pay had risen from 82% to 98.5%.

“The fact is it can be fixed; it just requires measurement, planning, commitment and a disciplined program of implementation,” he says.

“I challenge the Australian business community to do this now as a business priority.”

IRP explored the gender imbalance in the insurance industry earlier this year, finding that insurance has less balanced workforce than the rest of the country, with fewer women in senior positions.

To find out more about how well-represented women are in the insurance industry, click on the infographic above.

“We spend a lot of time talking about numbers of women in senior roles whereas we ignore the key issue of pay equity which apart from being right and fair for all women is one of the key building blocks to us having more women in senior roles,” Minto says.

He has been appointed to an honorary role at the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), which yesterday released research showing that almost three-quarters of employers had never done a gender pay gap analysis.

Minto says TAL took direct action to address its own pay gap, instituting a program involving pay, recruitment and remuneration training, policies and guidelines along with an ongoing awareness campaign.

Offering flexible work arrangements was also a key part of the change, and was attractive to employees of both genders.

“We also found that by encouraging more men to take up flexible work we were helping to dismantle the gender-based stigmas that previously bogged down flexibility discussions,” Minto says.

“Every employer can fix this now.

“It just needs the urgent attention it deserves to ensure we get rid of, once and for all, this blight on our modern society.”