Zurich – 25% increase in female applicants after advertising every vacancy as potential part time, job share or full time role

Posted by News from ABP on 02/8/19:

Zurich UK said it is "tackling the gender pay gap head on" with a newly launched first of its kind initiative to advertise every vacancy as a potential part time, job share or full time working opportunity along with agile working.

This, coupled with the use of gender neutral language in every job advertisement, has already generated significant change. Just three months on, the business has seen a 25% increase in the number of females applying for jobs across all levels of the business.

This is particularly prominent around senior management roles which has seen a more pronounced percentage increase of 45%, said the insurer.

The initiative was introduced in March following internal analysis of Zurich’s gender pay gap [Zurich's Gender Pay Gap reduced to 22.8% in 2018 from 27.3% in 2017]. The business worked with an external research agency to help identify the underlying causes of the gender pay gap and ways in which to reduce it. The research highlighted the need to attract more women to senior and technical roles at Zurich.

Many of these roles have not previously being available on a part-time or flexible basis.

Both new and existing Zurich employees also have the option to request to work on a part time, job share or FlexWork basis. Already, (72%) almost three out of four Zurich employees enjoy Flexwork"This sets out to empower employees to work where, when and how they choose to optimise productivity and wellbeing and balance professional and personal commitments," said Zurich. Take-up is high and it’s agreed on an individual to manager or team basis. When it comes to working part time 11% of Zurich employees already do this and half of these opt for a four day week.

Steve Collinson, Head of HR for Zurich UK, said:

"It’s reassuring that we’ve already managed to shift the dial on some of the symptoms behind our gender pay gap. We completely understand this isn’t a silver bullet as the gender pay gap is a deep rooted and complex issue. We are committed to taking concrete steps to make Zurich and our industry a more attractive place to work for the broadest range of people.

"We believe that a culture of ‘last in the office’ is fairly antiquated and by offering people the opportunity to work in a way that suits their personal circumstances we can open up a whole new talent pool. This isn’t just about attracting more women into senior positions, we want to give everyone the opportunity to pursue their chosen career regardless of their personal circumstances. This could range from working mums, fathers with young children, people with dual careers or those with elderly or dependent relatives. We believe that if you increase the number of part time senior level roles, it radically changes the challenges businesses face when sourcing top talent.”

Minister of State for Employment at the Department for Work and Pensions, Alok Sharma, said:

“Flexible working can have a massive impact on helping people into good careers. With an estimated 2 million people in the UK who could return to work, but often struggle with the commitment of a traditional 9 to 5 job, there is a huge pool of talent out there. It’s great to see a major employer like Zurich taking the initiative and offering all roles with a flexible, part time or job-share option. It’s something my department also offers and this has helped us attract excellent candidates at all levels.” 

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