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'Financial services must do more to prevent brain drain'


Financial services companies must do more to prevent talented individuals dropping out of work due to the pressures of childcare.

This is the view of Katie Crook-Davies, founder of life and health insurance consultant Tabei, who said companies need to think more flexibly and have better return-to-work policies in place to prevent losing staff post-parental leave. 

Talking to FTAdviser, Crook-Davies explained why she had created a 10-part podcast series, called The Parenthood Diaries, as part of her Risky Mix podcast.

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She warned the gender pay gap will never improve unless companies work out ways to keep staff - particularly women - who often struggle to juggle childcare funding and employment. 

In the 5-minute Snapshot video, which you can watch by clicking on the link above, Crook-Davies shares how 43,000 women left the workplace due to "family commitments" and only one in five returned to work within three years of maternity leave. 

The findings of her podcast series, coupled with collating data across the insurance industry, led to the publication of a 54-page white paper, called 'Creating an Insurance Industry that Works for Working Parents'.

Crook-Davies said: "What we have uncovered is there is room to improve to make things more inclusive. 

"It is easy to look at the high costs of childcare, for example, and think that salaries might not be able to cover that. We know this is a reason many women think about leaving the workplace. 

"But yes, while today the cost of childcare may well be painful, people need to take a step back and think about what they are giving up if they leave the workplace: pensions, workplace benefits. 

"The gender pay gap and the pension gap is a cost to leaving the workplace, so I would urge advisers to prompt those questions and thoughts among their clients."