Insurer Zurich publishes ethnicity pay gap figures

Zurich UK has published its ethnicity pay gap data showing a 9.8% gap for mean average hourly pay for 2020. Photo: Getty

Insurer Zurich UK (ZURN.SW) has announced it will publish its ethnicity pay gap figures for 2020 as part of a pledge to tackle inequality in pay and remove barriers to career progression for its ethnic minority employees.

Zurich’s pay data for ethnic minority workers shows a 9.8% gap for mean average hourly pay for 2020, an improvement of 2 percentage points on 2019’s figure of 11.8%.

However, the company’s bonus pay gap has widened by 7.8 percentage points, rising to 24.5% from last year’s figure of 16.7%.

This is due to a small number of employee changes in senior roles and new appointments being made midyear, with bonus awards for new starters made on a pro-rata basis to date of hire, according to Zurich.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has called for mandatory reporting on ethnic minority pay, recruitment, retention, and promotion.

Zurich is the first insurer and one of just 17 companies to publish this data, according to the firm.

In an effort to tackle inequality in the workplace Zurich has signed Business in the Community’s race at work charter, committing to five principles to tackling any barriers to the recruitment and progression of ethnic minority employees. These include gathering data and publicising progress, taking action to support career progression and making equality in the workplace the responsibility of all leaders and managers.

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Zurich has also placed over half its UK executive team in the Insurance Industry’s Cultural Awareness Network’s mentoring programme and its own internal reverse mentoring scheme to understand barriers to career progression.

The company has teamed up with equality research experts, Behavioural Insights Team to analyse data about its ethnic minority employees to better understand how Zurich attracts, recruits and promotes ethnic minority staff, as well as unravelling the causes of its ethnicity pay gap. This will lead to a series of interventions and an action plan which will be published in the autumn 2020, the firm said.

In 2019, Zurich took steps to tackle its gender pay gap, leading to changes including advertising all new vacancies as being available on a part-time, job-share or flexwork basis, as well as full time, to attract more women into senior roles. It also committed to diverse long and short lists when recruiting and reviewed the wording of all job adverts using specialist software to ensure that they appeal to a diverse range of candidates.

READ MORE: Black and ethnic minority workers hit hardest by coronavirus job losses

Tulsi Naidu, Zurich UK’s CEO said: “We have led the way with various campaigns to create a more inclusive work environment taking a number of 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 better support them in their careers. 

“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.”