· News

Gender diversity leaps at Zurich after all vacancies made part-time

Zurich UK has seen a fivefold increase in the number of female part-time hires since it started offering all roles on a part-time or flexible basis in 2019.

The policy, which saw female part-time hires jump from 23 to 119 per year, requires the company to advertise every vacancy with the option of applying on a part-time, flexible or job-share basis, and the use of gender-neutral language in adverts. 

Gender diversity:

Hybrid working could drive gender promotion gap

Four-day week would help close gender pay gap

Gender neutrality as part of inclusivity cannot stop at email signatures, it needs policy and process too

Since its application, the policy has seen a 16% increase in the number of women applying for jobs at the firm.

The policy has also had a particularly pronounced effect in senior hires.

In the 12 months to January 2023, Zurich hired 45% more women into senior roles compared with the same period in 2019, a difference of 62 to 90.

Chief HR officer Steve Collinson said he was proud to see the company’s policy have such an impact and encouraged other organisations to do the same.

He told HR magazine: “Despite demand for part-time and flexible working, the majority of jobs advertised still fail to offer any flexible working options. 

“This means that many people with family or caring responsibilities are faced with huge barriers when looking to enter or move within the labour market. This needs to change.”

Collinson encouraged companies to use third-party tools to screen the language used in job adverts so that women were not put off from applying.

Ann Cairns, global chair of the 30% Club, an organisation dedicated to boosting the number of women in boardrooms, told HR magazine it was fantastic to see such a boost to the number of women at Zurich, particularly those in influential positions.

She said: "Flexible working is now so much better understood and valued by business leaders and its adoption is becoming much more comprehensive.

"I'm a big believer in emphasising the benefits of flexible working not just for women but for men as well. What matters is output.”