Gender balance in the p&c workforce

CIP graduate

Melanie Lam and son Ethan Kwan at Melanie's CIP convocation

A gender balanced workforce isn’t necessarily something that immediately comes to mind when talking about the financial services sector. The p&c insurance industry, however, is an exception.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, #PledgeforParity, celebrates the progress that has been made towards gender parity, but also reminds us that there is so much more to be done. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s now famous comment, “because it’s 2015”, recently put Canada on the map for gender balance in a high-profile workplace. But when it comes to the p&c industry this is not new, some might even say that ‘it’s a women’s world’ with women making up over half of the industry’s workforce.

In fact there is a lot to celebrate about women in the industry in Canada. Many women are leaders in the industry. A recent issue of Insurance Business Canada celebrated 35 women of influence in p&c insurance, ranging in roles from senior manager to C-suite. And nearly half of those women hold a CIP or FCIP designation.

One of the reasons why women excel into senior roles in insurance is that professional development and learning are the cornerstones of the industry. Programs like the CIP and FCIP offer flexible options that allow self-study offering time to balance work and family.

Take for example, Melanie Lam, a recent CIP graduate. Melanie recently shared her success as the Top Graduate – Independent Broker at convocation with her 10 month old son. Melanie says that she is, “Grateful for the flexibility offered by the CIP program,” and that she “not only learned a lot about insurance, but that continuous learning is an attitude.” Melanie also credits the CIP into helping her progress into more senior positions at her company, Ensurco Insurance.

In many ways career success and supportive training and learning are linked in the p&c industry. Several of the women on the 2016 women of influence list mention education as being one of the important stepping stones for them in the industry. Continuing to provide flexible learning options and work environment will be key to maintaining gender balance within the p&c insurance industry.

The p&c insurance industry can pat themselves on the back for doing a great job so far in helping to achieve gender parity. Let’s all continue to do our part to help to continue to close the gap sooner than the next century!

Posted by Insurance Institute on 3/7/2016