’This is the culture at Zurich – creating a level playing field for all,’ says talent acquisition manager

Achieving a comprehensive approach to diversity and inclusion (D&I) across the insurance industry will require a “balancing act” given its complex nature.

That was according to Michelle Ransome, talent acquisition manager at Zurich, who told Insurance Times that managing D&I initiatives within the insurance industry was like “spinning plates”.

Ransome explained this was because factors such as ethnicity, gender and social mobility “go hand in hand” and demanded “thoughtful consideration”.

And she felt this was key as the industry looks to attract more young talent.

This came after a survey by The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) revealed that only 30% would consider insurance as a career.

The findings were based on a survey of 50 participants between the ages of 14-22 in April 2023.

In turn, Ransome highlighted the need for more industry campaigns aimed at attracting more young talent to the insurance sector.

One such campaign that was launched by the (CII) earlier this year (2 August 2023) – this is a virtual programme will see thousands of students aged 13 and over get the opportunity to work in the sector.

Zurich itself has also actively engaged in partnerships with organisations like Bright Network and Sanctuary Graduates to broaden their reach to individuals.

Ransome explained that such collaborations were key in targeting individuals who might not have considered insurance as a career path.

She added that the these partnerships go beyond recruitment by providing mentorship to individuals who may lack role models or career guidance.

“[Zurich] is very lucky because we naturally attract a high number of diverse applicants,” she said.

“This is the culture at Zurich – creating a level playing field for all.”

More opportunities 

To also help provide more opportunity to young talent, Zurich is looking to increase the volume of its available internship opportunities in 2024 by taking on an additional 26 individuals.

And candidates applying as graduates will not need to divulge the university they attended during the application process and the use of CVs will not be part of the selection process.

Zurich Michelle Ransome

Michelle Ransome

The insurer also noted that competency-based interviews had been replaced with strength-based assessments to ensure candidates from diverse backgrounds were not at a disadvantage.

“It’s about making sure that, as a company, we have as few barriers as possible for candidates,” Ransome said.

“We’ve made many adjustments to the recruitment process in recent years, which is paying dividends for us when it comes to attracting a much more diverse range of applicants.

“In fact, last year 40% of our graduate hires, including intern conversion, were from ethnic minorities. We’re also seeing a significant shift in applications from those from lower social economic backgrounds.”