This International Women’s Day there is some good news in the insurance industry.
Female executives in insurance are growing in numbers – making up 27% of those roles, up from 21% last year, according to the Association of British Insurers.
It is progress and that must be celebrated. However there is a plenty more to be done.
From my perspective in a senior role in HR at one of the largest insurance brokers in the UK, I am definitely positive about the future for women in insurance. In fact, I think the industry is well placed to become a leading example of equality in the workplace.
Not only is there room for more women in senior roles but there is demand for them and that makes a career in insurance an attractive prospect for young women with ambition.
Many companies are actively promoting gender equal employment. Furthermore, many women are feeling empowered to seek it. I don’t agree with quotas necessarily as they are too prescriptive but the general sense that there is greater demand for women in senior roles – that has to be welcomed.
I hope my tips will be useful to any woman embarking on moving up the ladder to senior roles and a seat at the board in insurance. Now is the time!
Career progression tips
- List Achievements: The list may be as long as your arm but don’t assume that people, not even yourself, will remember what value you have added. When it comes to a pay review, or potential promotion, it helps to have a list of your achievements available to remind yourself and showcase to your employer/Line Manager.
- Lean In – or don’t: The problem with theories such as “Lean In” in order to make your voice heard and presence felt is that they are generalisations. It may not be your style to “lean in” and that’s fine. More important is being confident in your own style, your own voice and carving out your place.
- Timing: I have seen this so often, across the HR roles I have held in varied sectors, a good sense of timing is key to positioning yourself as a prime candidate for promotion. This isn’t a one off thing, but a sort of habit. Pitching in at the right time in a meeting. Holding back when the conversation isn’t progressing. Having solutions available when they are most needed. Don’t allow your important insights go to waste with bad timing.
- You don’t have to know everything. This is important in senior roles. It is not all up to you. It is often better to know who to ask and build a team you can rely on. Knowing your own sector of the business well is key,
- The LinkedIn approach to recommendations is good advice. Try to have positive recommendations from people who are senior to you, colleagues at your level and those junior to you. This shows that you are capable of management as well as being managed and working well with colleagues.