This International Women's Day, we interviewed some of our team asking them to share their thoughts on how we can #BreakTheBias.
We can all choose to challenge and call out gender bias and inequality. We can all choose to seek out and celebrate women's achievements. Collectively, we can all help create an inclusive world.
#BreakTheBias with Sanjeev Vegad, partner and director at Eames Consulting in the UK.
1. What is one action companies can take to further balance their talent attraction strategies?
There are a few to be honest - being open to job-sharing, part-time hours and specifically targeting candidates who may have taken a career break are the obvious ones. Within insurance, the London Market has very much been a ‘face-to-face’ market which has meant fully remote roles have quite often been a complete non-starter. However, with competition for talent being as fierce as it is, maybe companies need to think a little bit more creatively around whether fully or largely remote roles can be accommodated- although for front office roles I get that this could be more difficult. If a solution can be found, it would certainly open up a previously un-tapped talent pool.
2. Do you think that more companies adopting a hybrid working pattern has helped to shift pre-conceived conceptions about flexible working for women and why?
100% - it has proved what we’ve all thought for a while which is that you do not need to be stuck to your office desk five days a week in order to be productive. I also believe that everyone has seen the benefits of a hybrid working model which essentially cuts out your commute for 2 or 3 days a week allowing you to spend more time with family or on your own well-being.
3. International Women’s Day is also about celebrating women and their achievements, who inspires you?
I’ll start at home – my wife and daughter! My wife has successfully juggled childcare duties with a demanding career in marketing. Whilst I have always appreciated my wife’s ability to do this if I’m being honest, it’s only the last two years of hybrid working where I have gained a real insight into how challenging it can be so I’m pleased we can now share the load and that we live in a world where working from home isn’t seen as a luxury afforded to a fortunate few.
4. What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
It’s all about breaking down pre-conceived ideas – the main one, I feel, being that women can’t accelerate their careers if they take a career-break to start a family in the same way as their male counterparts might. The insurance market has made positive strides in the last decade or so with a number of high-profile positions being held by women who have either chosen to take career breaks or who have juggled a demanding role with family life. Having these role models has such a positive impact on attracting more women to insurance and also giving them encouragement that the industry they work in can offer career fulfilment opportunities.