Insurance may have a reputation for being a male-dominated industry, but progress is being made toward gender equality according to a survey of female executives.
Some 86 percent of women attending the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s (IICF) 2016 Women In Insurance Conference agreed that strides were being made to achieve gender equality, up from just 72 percent last year.
The shift in numbers is underpinned by several key trends that have had the most profound impact on the improvement of gender equality in the industry in the past five years.
Active recruitment of a gender-diverse workforce was identified as the most important trend by 44 percent of respondents to the IICF survey.
Another 22 percent cited the establishment of mentorship programs for women, while a further 20 percent said the sponsorship of executive networking opportunities carried the most weight.
Interestingly, 87 percent of respondents said their company in particular is actively working to promote gender diversity, up from 68 percent last year.
Limited opportunities to move up the corporate ladder are also no longer seen as the biggest obstacle to women ascending into leadership roles. Instead, women not promoting themselves enough or effectively was identified as the biggest challenge by 35 percent of respondents.
And when it comes to the advancement of women to senior leadership roles, some 32 percent of respondents rank insurance as the most supportive industry in financial services. Last year, insurance ranked last at just 12 percent.
Erin Calvey, executive vice president at Ironshore Insurance Co. and IICF Conference Series speaker, commented:
“While barriers still exist for women who seek to advance within their careers, we have seen a shift in thought among women in the industry – where lack of opportunities for upward mobility is no longer the primary obstacle.
For more information on women in insurance check out these facts and statistics from the Insurance Information Institute.