Young women dodge insurance

Young women working in the financial services sector are steering clear of potential career paths within the insurance industry, according to a recent international survey released by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The survey uncovers startling statistics regarding the perceptions of more than 8000 millennial women, 600 of which work within financial services (FS).

The results reveal a disparity between what millennial women, born between 1980 and 1995, want out of their FS career and what they believe the insurance industry can offer them.

Opportunities for career progression showed as the most important facet of job choice for millennial women in FS. However, only 35% feel that there is opportunity enough for women to achieve this within the insurance industry.

The majority of millennial women within FS (87%) agree that they take their potential employer’s policy on inclusiveness and gender diversity into consideration when choosing a job.

However, an overwhelming 80% believe that the insurance sector lacks in diversity, with 64% of young women working in insurance saying that their employer isn’t delivering enough on encouraging diversity.

Allianz Chief General Manager Workers Compensation Division Helen Silver says that, although there is a strong belief in the benefits of gender diversity within the insurance industry, the lack of women in senior positions is problematic for retaining younger staff.

“Around half the employees in the insurance industry are female, you would have thought that was good news,” Silver says.

“However, only a third of these women are in line management roles. In many insurance companies, there aren’t many women holding senior executive roles.”

Silver explains that the lack of female leadership offers a weak incentive for millennial women who seek to progress and grow their careers.

“What is clearly needed is cultural change. You have to do that with very strong, committed leadership that values diversity in teams, leadership style and thinking,” Silver says.

“There is really no substitute for that visible, personal leadership, and for younger women to see that coming from women in senior positions.”

Silver believes that retaining female staff through middle-management level is an important facet of encouraging younger women into the industry.

“Women make up a significant proportion of a company’s talent pool. Your talent pool is where you are going to find future leaders,” Silver explains.

“It’s basically a circular argument. You not only have to champion women at the executive level, you have to champion women right down the stream so that they stay in the talent pipeline and move into the senior roles.”

Click here for survey.