Sponsorship efforts are being made to shrink the gender gap in top positions for women in insurance and financial services.
Though there has been an increase in the number of women in insurance and financial services professions, they continue to remain under-represented among the higher management and executives of their organizations.
At least two companies – Aon P.L.C. and Chartis Inc. – have now announced that they are making efforts to change that fact. What they have noted, according to the managing director of Chicago-based Aon Risk Solutions, Carol Murphy, is that the majority of women who reach the level of middle-management never seem to move up from that point. Murphy says that this is largely because their organizations do not have adequate sponsorships.
Murphy spoke about women in insurance and financial services at the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc. conference.
The session in which Murphy participated was called “Women’s Leadership in Risk and Insurance”, at the conference which was held in Philadelphia. Within her segment, Murphy cited the “Women in the Economy” report from 2011, which was created by McKinsey & Co. Based on its data, she said that “there is a huge drop-off between middle management and senior management.”
The report cited by Murphy showed that less than 3 percent of the CEOs of the firms in the Fortune 500 are women. It also indicated that while at entry level of corporate jobs, women make up 53 percent of the workers, by the time the executive-committee level is reached, their numbers plummet to 14 percent.
Murphy believes that the solution to this problem is that middle management women in insurance and financial services must be actively sponsored, to assist them in achieving that next step up. This is also important, says Murphy, as:
“So many of our customers are women, it helps to have that diversity of thought.”
Chartis, an insurer based in New York, is also making an effort to help a larger number of women to achieve leadership positions by establishing an Executive Diversity Council and a Talent-Steering Committee. These two programs are meant to form development plans for women in insurance and financial services who have potential and the qualifications to climb the corporate ladder.