The insurance industry continues to work to create a more diverse and inclusive environment in which a much broader spectrum of employees has access to the same level of career potential that our exciting and dynamic sector offers.
While it is clear that in many areas we have taken significant and meaningful steps in this direction in recent years, there is still much that needs to be done if our industry is to fulfil its moral and business imperative to foster a marketplace that is truly open and offering the same opportunities to all.
In our industry, the failings apparent in our approach to diversity and inclusion go right to the heart of how we recruit and retain talent. Too often our goal is to recruit like for like when a role becomes available – we have a template that we apply and any deviation from that is met with resistance. We need to stop restricting our talent horizon and be much more open to difference – whether that is in the form of ethnicity, gender, social background or skills base. In short, we need to ensure that we are recruiting potential.
One area that is critical to efforts on this front is facilitating more effective social mobility. Levels of social mobility across the UK are deplorably low. According to the Social Mobility Commission, less than one third of people in the north-east of the country believe they have good opportunities to progress compared with almost three quarters in the south-east. The report states this highlights a need for “greater efforts to improve social mobility in schools, further education, training and job security in many regions outside the south-east.”
It is imperative that our industry plays its part in overcoming this huge social mobility disparity – and in some ways COVID-19 and the transition to remote working may offer a chance to address these regional differences. Our seamless transition to mobile working at Crawford may, for example, enable us to create a more dispersed series of talent hubs across the country and tap more effectively into talent pools in more deprived areas where moving to cities such as London or Manchester is not an option.
If we can open the door to people in areas where social mobility is restricted, that door should provide access to a workplace environment in which the opportunities to elevate their career position can be grasped by all.
At Crawford, we have made considerable investment recently to both evolve our recruitment processes and enhance our career progressions strategies – but there is still much work to be done, and we are committed to doing it.
We recently appointed Caroline Poppleton as diversity and inclusion leader at Crawford UK who is focusing on areas such as recruitment, career planning, training and leadership. We have also been reassessing our recruitment procedures and in tandem have introduced unconscious bias training for every manager in order to minimize potential barriers to entry.
We also operate a series of multi-tier career pathways that span every role within our organization, from the entry-level claims roles to the complex loss senior positions, as well as apprenticeship programs and mentoring schemes. Our aim is to foster an environment in which not only can we open our door wider to those who may not have the same level of access to job opportunities as others, but also show them how they can progress in their role and reach the levels they aspire to.
We are also looking at other aspects of our working environment to ensure we offer sufficient flexibility to adapt to the differing needs of our employees. These areas include maternity and paternity policies as well as flexible working strategies.
At Crawford, we are extremely fortunate in terms of the diversity of roles we offer, from entry-level positions right through to forensic-level complex loss adjusting positions. For each and every one of these roles, we must ensure our recruitment processes are as open as possible to talent from every background and that those who choose to join our ranks see the potential we as a company provide.