OPINION ///// 9
For firms that don’t take diversity seriously, the report had
a stark warning. McKinsey found that overall, companies
in the bottom quartile for both gender and ethnic/cultural
diversity were 29 percent less likely to achieve above-average
profitability than all the other companies in the dataset. Not
only were they not leading, they were lagging.
From a macro perspective, PwC’s March 2019 Women in
Work Index shows that improving female participation in
work across the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD) countries could boost gross domestic
product (GDP) in those nations by $6 trillion; losing the
gender pay gap alone could boost GDP by $2 trillion.
However: “While progress on representation is perceptible,
the pace of change remains disappointing,” says Vivian Hunt,
managing partner, UK and Ireland at McKinsey, in the latest
Hampton-Alexander Review published in November 2019,
which focuses on increasing the number of women on FTSE
boards and in senior positions.
Beale adds: “There’s going to be increasing social pressure
from people, either as consumers or as employees, who want
to see that there is fair representation of the communities
they are from or communities overall. The next generation are
going to be demanding it.”
The evidence to support a push for greater diversity and
gender equality is there and these studies are just a small
sample of the wealth of research out there, so what action can
One programme taking a novel, holistic approach to
financial gender equality is the Insuring Women’s Futures
Programme (IWF). It aims to bring about change and highlight
opportunities for the re/insurance sector in the process.
Led by the Chartered Institute of Insurance (CII) in
collaboration with sector experts, IWF conducted analysis
over three years to produce a joined-up action plan that aims
to lift everybody in society.
Jane Portas, partner at PwC and lead author of the IWF
manifesto, explains that the research focuses on women’s
financial life journey in the UK. The report identifies a
series of life risks—or perils and pitfalls—that have financial
implications for women.
“One of the key life risks relates to the gender pay gap, which
is a measure of the gender diversity in roles within employers,”
The gender pay gap in the UK is currently 9 percent on
average, but Portas highlights the 21 percent pay gap between
male and female apprentices, which is a result of gender
stereotyping—a disproportionate number of girls opt to work
in lower-paid sectors.
Portas says there is a similar pattern for female graduates,
with threequarters gaining a 2:1 degree or higher, yet fewer
studying the subjects that will lead to higher paid jobs in
“We need to stand
back and look at
life journeys and
understand that there
are differences in the
men and women.”
Jane Portas, PwC
www.intelligentinsurer.com Diversity and Inclusion Report 2019