Wayne Page, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Brit Insurance writes about the challenges of attracting top tech talent to an industry with traditional roots.
In the last year, Brit Insurance has hired over 40 people from outside our industry into tech and data roles - something that is critical to the future success of our business. However, attracting this talent is not always easy and with insurance a relatively traditional sector, we've recognised that differentiating ourselves through a culture that truly embraces diversity is essential if we are to bring in the specialists we need.
Perception is everything, and if people think about an industry as ‘old fashioned' or ‘traditional' it can significantly hamper the ability of organisations to attract the best talent. This is only exacerbated in data and technology given the huge demand for individuals with the relevant skills and experience. Furthermore, in financial services, which is undergoing a rapid digital transformation, this is particularly acutely felt. The right culture is therefore a critical tool if you want the very best to join you in a hugely competitive market.
However, creating the right culture is not something you can enact overnight. It requires constant challenge, a willingness to push outside of your comfort zone and genuine buy-in at every level of an organisation. It also means making everyone heard. For example, at Brit we have given all employees a voice and a role in making our company an inclusive place to work. This includes fostering strong Employee Network Groups across a range of topics, such as race, multigeneration workplaces, sexual orientation, disability and gender.
By creating an environment where we are not afraid to have difficult conversations and embedding this as a core part of our culture we hope that anyone joining Brit, from any background, can be confident that they can thrive as their true self.
We also believe that companies need to actively demonstrate their values through changes they make to their own workplace and policies. For example, at Brit we have enhanced our shared parental leave policies, increased our mindfulness of issues stemming from menopause and fertility and changed our approach to public holidays to recognise the multi-cultural and multi-faith society we live in.
Like any company, we know we have more we can do and are determined to continue learning, reflecting and evaluating our approach, being honest with ourselves and our employees. But we are also proud of the culture we have built. The stronger our culture, and more deeply ingrained our commitment to diversity, the better we can attract the individuals we need to grow our business and help us capitalise on the huge opportunities presented by areas such as data science and machine learning.