Zurich leads the charge publishing 2020 ethnic minority pay gap figures

Ethnicity pay report just the start of a sustained effort to support ethnic minority employees at insurance firm

Zurich UK has launched a programme to tackle inequality in pay and the removal of barriers for career progression for its ethnic minority employees. The business, including its Cultural Awareness Network (CAN), has partnered with the Behavioural Insights Team to analyse data about its ethnic minority employees.

The study, just the start of a focused effort to support ethnic minority staff,  will look at how Zurich attracts, recruits and promotes people of colour and the cause of its ethnicity pay gap. 

Ethnic minority pay data

Zurich’s pay data for ethnic minority employees show a 9.8% gap for mean average hourly pay for 2020.  While this has improved by two percentage points on 2019’s figure of 11.8%, its bonus pay gap of 24.5% has widened by 7.8 percentage points on last year’s figure of 16.7%. Primarily driven by changes in senior roles and new appointments made midyear, with bonus awards for new starters made on a pro-rata basis to the date of hire. Zurich UK now plans a series of interventions and an action plan which will be published this autumn.

Zurich, which supports the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s calls for mandatory reporting on ethnic minority pay, recruitment and progression, is urging the Government to produce rigorous guidance and tools for employers to tackle race inequality in the workplace.

Around 7% of Zurich UK’s employees declare themselves as belonging to an ethnic minority, although the numbers in practice may be higher as just 86% of its staff self-declare their ethnicity.

Gender pay actions

Zurich took similar steps to tackle its gender pay gap last year and advertised all new vacancies as being available on a full or part-time, job-share or flexible basis to attract more women into senior roles. It also committed to diverse long and shortlists when recruiting and reviewed the wording of all job adverts using specialist software to ensure that they appeal to a diverse range of candidates.

Zurich Uk has signed  The Race at Work Charter, committing to five principles to tackling any barriers to the recruitment and progression of ethnic minority employees. These include capturing data and publicising progress, taking action to support career progression and making equality in the workplace the responsibility of all leaders and managers.

Cultural awareness

As part of this work, over half of Zurich’s UK executive team is involved in the Insurance Industry’s Cultural Awareness Network’s mentoring programme. The executive team also take part in Zurich’s reverse mentoring scheme, allowing them to listen and better understand the experiences of ethnic minority employees and any barriers they face to career progression. 

Tulsi Naidu, Zurich UK’s CEO said: “We have led the way with various campaigns to create a more inclusive work environment taking several progressive measures within our business and leading on initiatives such as the Inclusive Behaviours in Insurance pledge signed by over 130 major players in the industry. We are listening to our employees from diverse and ethnic minority backgrounds, and their experiences will help inform any action we take. 

“Our data shows that we have more work to do to appoint more diverse candidates to our business and to support them in their careers better.  We are committed to doing everything we can to understand how we can progress meaningful change, which is why we fully support the mandatory reporting of this data in the same way as we do for gender.  Organisations now need practical guidance and a clear framework on how best to do this to tackle race inequality in the workplace – and we look forward to support from the Government and EHRC to help us deliver.”

A reflection of society

Steve Collinson, Zurich UK’s Head of HR added: “We think it is critical that we build a truly diverse business that reflects our customers and communities and we are taking a structured approach by putting a concrete framework and action plan in place to move the dial.”

Lord Bilimoria, CBI President & COBRA Beer founder and Chairman, said: “Diversity drives better decision-making. So the lack of black and ethnic minority representation in the highest echelons of UK enterprise must change. Talented people must have the same rights and opportunities as anyone else to rise to the top of their careers, regardless of their appearance or background. Progress has been made over the years, but not enough, which is why it’s so important companies like Zurich act as allies for change that can make a real difference.”

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