We can’t be what we can’t see. If female employees never see other women in executive, supervisory or mentorship roles, it becomes much harder for them to envisage and walk down the path to leadership. It also reduces their commitment to their respective companies because it either looks like these companies haven’t been able to retain women long enough to support them and promote them into leadership roles, or it looks like they simply don’t care. Either way, women are leaving the insurance industry because of this.
These are the findings of Ericka Fang, associate attorney at Kaufman Borgest & Ryan LLP, and speaker at Insurance Business’s upcoming Women in Insurance New York event on September 17. Fang recently co-authored an article with a female employee at MetLife about women of colour in the legal and insurance industries. Together, they found that a lot of women are leaving those industries, and their motivations boil down to four key areas: assignments, opportunities, compensation and promotion, and mentoring.
“If women don’t feel like they’re getting equal opportunities in those four key areas, they’re leaving to join other companies or industries where they see women in managerial, supervisory and executive roles. They want to work in companies and industries where they see women thriving,” Fang told Insurance Business.
“The one area that’s really important with regards to women is compensation and promotion. We spoke to a lot of women who shared similar experiences where they have not received a promotion when a male colleague has, despite maybe being with the company for longer and working more hours. We can’t decipher why a company would promote a man over a woman, or employee A over employee B, but we do know those things are happening.”
There’s been a large push in recent years around compensation parity between men and women. In New York, a law has been passed which bars employers from asking prospective employees about their salary history during the interview process. The intention of the law is to make employers offer fair compensation based on the requirements of the role.
“Social media has played an important role in the push for fair compensation,” Fang added. “Women are becoming much more transparent with each other about what their salaries are and what compensations are offered at their companies. A couple of years ago, people were not doing that. Now they’re discussing it because they’re wanting to make sure they’re getting fairly compensated for the work that they’re doing and their level of experience. If they find out other people who have less experience are getting paid more than them, it’s a problem.
“Women want fair compensation and a fair and transparent promotion structure where they can know what’s expected of them and whether they meet the mark or not. Whether companies want to be transparent or not, employees are much more transparent in the age of social media, which is going to force companies to make changes.”
Ericka Fang will be sharing insights on this topic and more at the upcoming Women in Insurance New York on September 17, also road showing in Chicago on September 10, San Francisco on October 03 and London UK on October 10. See further information or book now.