The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) is encouraging firms in the insurance and financial advice sectors to start disclosing their gender pay information ahead of next April’s deadline, regardless of whether or not they are required to.
The body said it wants to lead by example by doing so itself – five months in advance – despite the fact it is exempt by being under the 250-employee threshold set by the government.
CII chief executive Sian Fisher said: “We are a strong profession and when we behave with confidence and purpose the public will trust us to deliver. However, if we are opaque or make excuses, they will question our ability to treat customers, as well as employees, fairly.”
The move by the CII ties in with the publishing of a briefing paper, Mind the Gap, in which the institute outlines the key issues concerning the gender pay gap, what is causing it and what can be done to address the problem.
In support of the CII campaign IFA Ruth Whitehead said if all firms, no matter how small, disclosed the gender pay gap it would bring about change.
Ms Whitehead said: “Financial services will fare badly. Every organisation should release that information because it will highlight the level of gender pay gap that exists and show that the problem is still being brushed under the carpet.
“If firms do not publish the rates then they have something to hide. Being open and accountable helps businesses to flourish.”
Ms Whitehead said disclosing gender pay gap information would also help change workplace cultures by creating more gender-balanced office environments.
She also criticised the substantial number of IFAs who she says still only employ people and attract clients who look like them – white men.
At her firm Ruth Whitehead Associates, she said the company adopts a non-discriminatory approach when it hires staff, which reflects the community it is based in.
Andrew Whiteley, managing director of Provisio, said that discrepancies in gender pay gap were more likely to exist within smaller firms that had far fewer than 250 employees.
Yet these are the firms that are not obliged to disclose the information.
The CII has also pledged to promote gender diversity and inclusion by having a senior executive team responsible and accountable for those areas.
It will also set a three-year internal target for gender diversity in its senior management including 30 per cent female representation on the CII executive and 30 per cent female representation on the CII board.
Ms Fisher said: “The data that firms are sharing between now and April 2018 is only the start. Our stakeholders want to see evidence of what we are doing individually and collectively to reduce the gap, and they will expect to see significant improvement in future.
“Publishing our gender pay information is an opportunity to show we serve the whole of society.
“I am encouraging all businesses in the insurance sector to publish their data openly, even if – like the CII – their headcount is lower than the threshold. The public and our employees will expect to see a positive, transparent and joined-up approach to addressing it.