Women in Finance Charter

27 September 2023

Ecclesiastical is pleased to be one of the founding signatories of the Women in Finance Charter.

The Charter is a financial services initiative to build a more balanced and fair industry, promoting gender balance at all levels across financial services firms. It involves a range of commitments which are reported on the HM Treasury website.

Our commitment

Our commitment to the Women in Finance Charter is underpinned by both our targets and a range of actions that we have put in place.

We set targets to focus on our commitment to support women to take up more of our senior management roles globally, which is one element of our diversity, equity and inclusion agenda.

2023 update on progress

In the last year, through acquisitions and growth, we have increased as a group by over 500 employees.

We have also seen an increase in the proportion of female employees across the group.

When we signed up for the Charter in 2016, our female senior management population was 23%. Last year we were at 31% and, disappointingly this year we have seen a slight decrease to 29%, whilst female board members remain at 33%. We are taking time to reflect and understand the reasons behind this.

Despite the decrease in our female senior management population, we remain committed to improving our diversity and inclusion across the Group.  We have therefore decided to increase our target to a minimum of 40% of women in our senior management population to reflect our growth ambitions and our desire to attract, develop and retain diverse and talented colleagues united by a common purpose. In support of this ambition, we will be introducing new initiatives in addition to those in place already which are detailed below, and we also want to take the opportunity to review the timescale by when we will aim to achieve the new target.

How are we doing it?

Diversity, equity and inclusion are important to us at Ecclesiastical. We recognise that everyone is different, and value our people for the individual contribution they make. We know that diversity in our business enhances our business performance and we encourage our people to use their experience, ideas and their unique character in their work.

Fairness and equity are already important principles that underpin our working practices, and we support all our employees in reaching their potential.

We do however see that there are some opportunities for us to enhance our approach and here are some examples of the actions in our plans:

How we recruit and attract employees

  • We are reviewing our candidate communications to more clearly communicate our commitment to gender diversity.
  • Clearly setting out and embedding our commitment to diversity within our target culture model and Code of Conduct, as well as on our Careers pages.

Supported by the Board, we have established a Diversity Equity and Inclusion Working Group with clear strategic goals. The focus for 2023 continues to be education and raising awareness of broader diversity, which includes a calendar of events throughout the year. We continue to raise awareness about diversity, equity and inclusion in our business and develop our inclusive culture.

How we develop our people and support them to grow

  • Provide the development and stretch challenges to enable our female talent to reach their potential.
  • Providing leadership development and stretch challenges to enable our female talent to reach their potential through our Benefact Leadership Development Programme and Benefact Emerging Talent programme which is new in 2023. In 2024 we will be launching a Women in Leadership programme specifically targeted at developing senior female leaders.
  • New Being an Inclusive Leader programme being developed and launching in 2024.
  • Support people to grow their careers through our General Insurance and People Leaders Academies.

How we approach remuneration and managing performance

  • Continue to enhance gender monitoring within our performance moderation, pay, bonus and review processes.
  • Continue to enhance gender monitoring of remuneration packages at recruitment and promotion.
  • Enhance our support for parents through our parental leave benefits – increasing our maternity, adoption and shared parental pay, and doubling paternity leave and pay.
  • Continue to enhance gender monitoring within our performance, pay and bonus processes, and reporting on our Gender Pay Gap ahead of the required deadline.
  • Enhance how we gather and report data – including in our Annual Report & Accounts.

How we consider the health and safety and wellbeing of our people

  • Ensure the continued excellence and employee awareness of our suite of flexible working and family-friendly policies.
  • Support our employees to build their own resilience enabling them to better manage both workplace and personal challenges.

There is no simple answer to creating a better gender balance in our organisation. So the solution will also require a range of actions taking effect over the medium term.

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