’It’s crucial to create productive spaces for honest discussions around EDI,’ says professor of sociolinguistics 

Inequality, discrimination and harassment within the insurance industry is being fuelled by excessive alcohol consumption at team building and client events.

That was according to the University of Nottingham, which revealed that more than a third (37%) of employees within the sector had seen or heard discriminatory language and behaviour.

This included language that was misogynistic, sexualised, racist, homophobic, ableist and ageist, the University said yesterday (19 September 2023).

It also revealed that some survey respondents reported being disadvantaged at work for having a “non-British accent”.

”Excessive alcohol consumption during work socials and client events caused exclusion and harassment,” the report said.

”It is a contributing factor in multiple incidents of sexism, racism and unwanted sexualised behaviour.”

Hybird working

The findings were published in the University of Nottingham’s Transforming EDI practices in UK Insurance’ study, which was carried out in partnership with Browne Jacobson LLP. 

It looked into people’s lived experiences across UK insurance firms.

It came after Lloyd’s of London unveiled a new code of conduct for employees in 2018, ultimately banning drunk employees from entering the building.

As a result of the University of Nottingham’s findings, the study also revealed that 75% of participants consider flexible working to be advantageous to EDI, with some respondents saying that working from home felt “safer” when they felt excluded or minoritised in the workplace.

However, participants also identified that people working from home were potentially less “visible” and could miss out on career progression opportunities.

”It’s crucial to create productive spaces for honest discussions around EDI (equality, diverstity and inclusion) and for everyone to play a role in bringing positive change to make workplaces fairer places for all,” Louise Mullany, professor of sociolinguistics, said.

“In order for any workplaces to achieve their ambitious aims for EDI in the workplace, it’s incredibly important that industries wholeheartedly benchmark their progress.”