Marsh to include diversity in top bonus calculations

Marsh’s UK and Ireland operations will link bonuses of senior staff to gender diversity targets, CEO Chris Lay said, as Lloyd’s announced a fresh initiative to promote female leaders.

On the final day of the Dive In Festival, Lay told the audience at Tower Place that gender balance would be one of the metrics included in calculating the bonuses of senior leaders at Marsh in the UK and Ireland.

“There will be measures”, he said.

At the event Lloyd’s chairman Bruce Carnegie Brown also launched the Advance Programme, an initiative aimed to get more women into leadership roles on Lime Street.

Carnegie-Brown said insurance was still dominated by “men who look a bit like me”.

“The insurance industry has long had a problem retaining women,” he said, adding there were too few women in senior leadership roles in the market.

Carnegie-Brown introduced a panel chaired by BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire, that included PwC insurance lead Jim Bichard and Marsh’s UK and Ireland CEO Lay.

During the event Lay said Marsh recently signed the Women in Finance Charter, a UK Treasury initiative. The document commits the broking giant to setting targets for gender diversity in senior management.

Currently, only 2 percent of CEOs in the financial sector are female.

The charter means signatories are committed to trying to ensure the pay of the senior executive team is linked to internal targets on gender diversity.

Lay said that Marsh’s gender pay gap of 25 percent was “not great” and that he was “not proud of it”. 

Marsh employs more women than men across the British Isles, but Lay said the broking giant’s gender pay gap was pushed up by the preponderance of men at the top of the company.    

“We have a problem of getting women in senior roles,” he said.

He added that Marsh was starting to do more work around mental health in the workplace.

“It’s about opening up a conversation” on the issue, said Lay.

At the event, Carnegie-Brown paid tribute to Liliana Archibald, a trade credit broker who in 1973 became the first women broker in the Lloyd’s market. Lloyd’s only started accepting capital from female Names in 1969.   

He also praised outgoing Lloyd’s CEO Inga Beale for promoting diversity and inclusion. “Inga has been a real force for change,” he said.

Meanwhile, PwC’s Birchard was candid about the challenges faced by the audit and consultancy firm around gender diversity. He said that just one in five PwC partners were female, leading to a gender pay gap of 44 percent at the organisation, when partners are included in the figures.

“I think we always feel we could do more,” he said.

PwC is using the UN Woman initiative HeForShe, which encourages men to stand in solidarity with women to push for gender equality.

He said the company now made it mandatory to include women and people from ethnic minorities in hiring processes.

Derbyshire talked about her own experiences with the gender pay gap at the BBC.

She said the atmosphere at Broadcasting House had improved since the furore over pay levels of senior male staff. A number of senior men took pay cuts, “not always graciously”.

Derbyshire said the BBC was still dominated by middle class people.

“When you work at the BBC, you realise how few people who work at the BBC went to comprehensive school or have a regional accent.”

She said a colleague was once told she was “too common to read the news”.