A packed audience made up of insurance professionals were given a series of presentations and the chance to debate with expert panelists on Monday 16th April.
Michelle Mason, Managing Director at Aon, welcomed the assembled audience representing the hosts Aon. Patrick Brodie, Partner at RPC, introduced his love of cake and discussed the natural inclination towards fairness when it comes to dividing a cake. If someone has a team of 5 and shares the cake they would try and give each one 20% but if someone or a number of people claimed they had worked harder on the baking of the cake how would one divide it then? Patrick highlighted the fact that the common response to reporting of Gender Pay Gap is to say all it tells us is that there are more men in senior positions or better paid positions(ergo they deserve more cake) – Patrick’s response: that’s the point! The Gender Pay Gap flags up a whole host of cultural and organisational issues that need to be addressed. He underlined the fact that you run into trouble if you start to make roles gender specific and champions making roles about the roles and who has the skills set to fulfil the role regardless of gender. The underpinning question should always be about fairness – is the culture in our organisation fair?
Jon Terry a Partner at PwC gave the challenging statistics and stated that “bad is bad” regardless of where a company lands on the gender pay gap percentages. Some are doing better than others but no one is doing really well. Financial services and Construction are amongst the worst and Insurance is among the worst offenders in Financial Services. Jon recommends that if anyone says that the Gender Pay Gap is “not that bad” you should metaphorically or physically slap them. Even adding he needs to be slapped at times. Jon pointed out that amongst the large audience gathered there were only 15 men: “men need to get off the sidelines” in this issue.
Tali Shlomo, People Engagement Director at CII, went deeper into the cultural issues around Gender Pay Gap and women in the workplace challenging the audience to think about the kind of language and thinking that they use – a man is persuasive, a woman is pushy for example.
The panel were then engaged in a healthy and lively debate chaired by Barbara Schonhofer who encouraged action and confidence “This is the time, women are central to the world’s move towards automation and flexible working”. Questions from the floor flagged up both good and bad examples of how inclusion and diversity are being addressed in different organisations as well as the ways in which women meet obstacles both external and internal.
The key takeaway for the audience was to keep having the debate and ensure that this too remains fair and engages all – men are an essential part of the change and among the takeaways was the need to ensure that future events attract more men to participate. For this to be culture change, it was suggested, everyone needs to be a part of it.
If you missed out on this event, a recording is still available on our twitter @inssuperclub . If you are interested in attending one of these collaborative events again in the future, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org