In recent years, the UK’s insurance industry has made significant strides in the right direction as companies look to create and promote a more diverse, open and sustainable market environment. This is reflected in the recent Association of British Insurers study, which revealed that 78 percent of companies have a diversity and inclusion strategy, while 74 percent have an executive sponsor for diversity and inclusion.
Yet despite such policies, the study also revealed that only 16 percent of the insurance workforce is made up of black, Asian or ethnic minority employees while only 1 in 5 executive and board positions are held by women. There is clearly a huge amount that still needs to be done to ensure our industry is representative of the society that it serves.
At Contractor Connection in the UK, we have set up the Contractor Connection Foundation to address some of these issues in the context of the UK’s construction industry, including the challenges of labour shortage and the male-dominated demographic of the sector. Through the work of the Foundation, we have been able to create highly valuable partnerships with a number of influential bodies. These include the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), which champions female construction workers; Building Heroes, which retrains military veterans as tradespeople; and Care Aware, which trains contractors to work in properties with people who have dementia or Alzheimer's.
To help overcome challenges relating to labour shortages, we have also set up a general apprenticeship scheme in which for every £500,000 of business we provide to a particular contractor, we encourage that organization to employ an apprentice — either one they source themselves, or a recent trainee from NAWIC or Building Heroes, for example.
The Crawford Academy is also a central component of our commitment to supporting a sustainable industry. Through this we provide the opportunity to retrain any people who have come through these schemes so that they can take up a position in the insurance sector.
In addition, we have partnered with the UK Green Building Council (UKGBC), a charity that lobbies governments to promote a greener and more socially fair environment in the residential and commercial construction sectors.
It is imperative that we all seek ways to make a meaningful contribution to market-wide efforts to foster a more diverse, sustainable and inclusive workforce across the UK which better reflects the wonderful diversity of the British population. As an industry, we all shoulder a duty to give back to the communities we serve and to be responsible stewards of our resources. At Contractor Connection UK, we feel that commitment to our clients and our communities is best demonstrated through our actions.