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The gender pay gap; it’s a hot topic at the moment. But what exactly is it?

The gender pay gap is a measure of the difference between the average earnings of men and women across an organisation or an entire labour market.

One of the reasons it’s being so widely discussed today is because every UK employer with a staff of 250 people or more, including XL Catlin, is now required by the UK Government to report on their firm’s gender pay gap.

The UK Government asked for this data to provide insight and promote transparency on the differences in average earnings between men and women across a company’s workforce and to highlight the broader societal issue of gender imbalance in the workplace.

This is the first time such data has been collected in the UK so broadly and systematically. And the results across industries are indeed interesting.

If we think about the causes for this gap, generally speaking and simply put, an organisation’s pay gap is a result of there being fewer women in higher paying roles as compared to men. It is NOT a result of women being paid less than men in the same or comparable roles, which is a question of gender pay equity.

Gender pay gap is not the same as pay equity

Gender pay equity relates to women receiving the same compensation as men for work of equal or similar value. In the UK, there are laws and safeguards in place for ensuring gender pay equity is maintained.

What is XL Catlin’s pay gap in the UK?

At XL Catlin, our mean and median gender pay gap was 30.2 percent and 31.4 percent respectively. For bonus pay, the mean and median gender pay gap was 64.9 percent and 53.6 percent respectively.These figures are from a snapshot taken on 5 April 2017 of our colleagues and their compensation levels.

While we are not surprised by these findings, we are not happy with them. Our gender pay and bonus gap figures reflect the gender profile of both our own workforce and the wider industry, which is currently 35 percent. 

It’s not OK, and we are taking action

An analysis of our data, along with figures from other UK financial services firms, points to two key factors driving the gender pay gap in our industry: fewer women both overall and in higher-earning pay bands.

This dynamic is also prevalent in many other industry sectors. Why that is so is the subject of considerable debate. It’s a complex issue.

XL Catlin is committed to proactive measures to increase the representation of women in leadership roles and in the pipeline for those roles, which will lead to a reduction in the gender pay gap.

The highlights of what we are doing:

  • Importantly, XL Catlin has signed the UK’s Women in Finance Charter. The Charter is a pledge for gender balance across financial services within the UK. It is a commitment by HM Treasury in the UK and signatory firms to work together to build a more balanced and fair industry.
  • The Charter target we have set and will report on is to increase the representation of women in our senior and executive roles to 35 percent or more by 2021 in the UK. This falls within the target recommendations set by the Hampton Alexander Review that was commissioned by the UK Government to look “at ways to ensure that talented women at the top of business are recognised, promoted and rewarded”.
  • We established a Women’s Executive Leadership Program. We created this intensive 12 -month global development programme to facilitate a path to leadership roles for women. The programme is designed to help top talent enhance their leadership skills, broaden their business knowledge and accelerate their career opportunities.We introduced a Diverse Candidate Slate Requirements policy for recruiters and hiring managers to think differently about how they find and interview candidates so that we attract the best and the brightest, not just the most familiar.
  • We rolled out guidelines to help hiring managers to become more aware of unconscious personal and cultural biases, and how these can prejudice objectivity and cause well-qualified candidates to be excluded.
  • We launched an Inclusive Leadership Training Programme. To date, worldwide 84 percent of our top leaders have completed this training that focusses on heightening awareness of diversity and inclusion and supporting leaders in confronting personal and cultural biases. This effort is now being expanded to include mid-level employees.
  • In 2017, we set up a Women of the World (WoW) colleague resource group to help speed-up the advancement of women. WoW is volunteer-led but supported by HR to deliver quality programming covering leadership, relationship building and general business topics.

Moving ahead

We’re confident that these activities will help advance gender equality within XL Catlin. We also recognise we have a long way to go and that things are not going to change overnight. Nevertheless, we are committed to driving these changes because promoting women’s equality is simply the right thing to do.

That’s why we also call on our industry peers to join us in taking steps both to help address the gender pay gap in insurance and to build a more diverse and inclusive industry workforce overall.

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US- and Canada-Issued Insurance Policies

In the US, the AXA XL insurance companies are: AXA Insurance Company, Catlin Insurance Company, Inc., Greenwich Insurance Company, Indian Harbor Insurance Company, XL Insurance America, Inc., XL Specialty Insurance Company and T.H.E. Insurance Company. In Canada, coverages are underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company - Canadian Branch and AXA Insurance Company - Canadian branch. Coverages may also be underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003. Coverages underwritten by Lloyd’s Syndicate #2003 are placed on behalf of the member of Syndicate #2003 by Catlin Canada Inc. Lloyd’s ratings are independent of AXA XL.
US domiciled insurance policies can be written by the following AXA XL surplus lines insurers: XL Catlin Insurance Company UK Limited, Syndicates managed by Catlin Underwriting Agencies Limited and Indian Harbor Insurance Company. Enquires from US residents should be directed to a local insurance agent or broker permitted to write business in the relevant state.