Mind the Diversity Gap – Victoria Derbyshire hosted a panel at Marsh to discuss the gender pay gap

Published: 15 Apr 2019

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Day three of Dive In in London saw Marsh play host to BBC journalist Victoria Derbyshire as panel moderator for an event called ‘Mind the Diversity Gap’. Jason Groves, Dive In Committee Chair welcomed everyone to Marsh reflecting on the festival’s positive growth and reach into markets including Saudi Arabia new for this year, before introducing keynote speaker, Lloyd’s Chair, Bruce Carnegie-Brown.

Bruce reflected on the Gender Pay Gap commenting how the market is ‘working not only to bridge the diversity gap but to close it, working together to hasten the change to inspire the young and the bright to choose insurance careers’. He made reference to the 100 year anniversary of women’s suffrage and reminded the room that it was only 50 years ago that Lloyd’s opened its doors to female ‘Names.’ Since 2014 and the appointment of Inga Beale as Lloyd’s first female CEO, he noted the ‘constant and committed focus on diversity and inclusion.’

The Mayor of London, Saddiq Khan recorded a video message for the Lloyd’s market in which he spoke of a City Hall sponsored initiative called ‘Our Time’ to promote gender equality in the workplace. He announced that Lloyd’s would be including the Our Time toolkit in its new Advance programme.

Victoria Derbyshire spoke of her own experiences at the BBC around the publication of the Gender Pay Gap and the resentment it initially created among colleagues when it was revealed that only 2 of the 10 highest earners were women and that the Gender Pay Gap figure revealed that men earned an average of 9.3% more than their female counterparts. She pointed out that despite initiatives and consultations internally at the BBC to improve gender diversity, she is still one of only 5 women presenters with their own shows as most women still support rather than lead in the talent line-up. Her conclusion was that if employers treat people fairly and mirror the audiences they serve in the workforce make-up, they can expect happier and more loyal staff.

The event’s three panellists were Emma Brown, Deputy Director, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, Jim Bichard, UK Insurance Leader, PWC and Chris Lay, CEO UK & Ireland, Marsh. Chris spoke about building female talent pipelines, citing some key stats that 72% of the most recent nominations for new MDs at Marsh were women, with 67% going on to be appointed.

Emma was invited onto the panel to share best practice from the Ministry of Housing which posted a minimal 3.1% Gender Pay Gap.  She spoke about the 50/50 gender split at every level in the organisation and the fact that the Permanent Secretary is a woman as contributing factors. She commented that ‘Women are over represented in development programmes where they over-perform. We have really well established and embedded flexible working and role models.’ Her tip for where D&I focus is headed next is beyond protected characteristics that are easily visible and into issues affecting social mobility.

Jim Bichard spoke about how PWC chose to publish its gender pay gap number before it was mandatory because its clients expect it to demonstrate good practice. He advocated for continuous measurement of input and output metrics, a clear action plan and accountability. In sharing tips for engaging middle managers, he also spoke up for He for She, sharing his positive experience of being an ally for gender equality and recommending making it personal for others in a similar way.

The panel conclusions included advice to stop and think for 15 to 30 seconds on key decisions reflecting, ‘Does it feel right?’ Pausing to break the cycle of old behaviours and make conscious choices that will advance gender equality.  Jim summed it up succinctly, “I use behavioural nudges, asking myself what can I do differently, forcing a pause to break the cycle of biases.’