Stephen Mann outlines some of the things the IFoA is doing to further its commitment to diversity and inclusion
In January we launched our new Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) strategy (bit.ly/IFoA_DEI). This was the culmination of more than 15 months of planning, discussion and feedback, during which we met and consulted with members, colleagues, business partners and organisations. We are proud of the strategy, which we consider to be thoughtful and ambitious while also stretching and challenging the IFoA as an organisation.
However, we are aware that words and good intentions are not enough, and that we will be judged on the improvements we can point to, the commitments we have acted on and the progress we have made.
Here, we look ahead to show you how we aim to deliver on our aspirational and far-reaching plans, from embedding DEI into entry to our profession to ensuring that our leadership fully embraces diversity, equity and inclusion.
Why DEI matters
While there is obviously a clear moral case for DEI, that is not the only reason to implement it. DEI has been shown to strengthen both organisations and society. We run the risk of lost potential if we do not encourage wider access to the profession and seek to support parity of progression for all.
Greater diversity within organisations provides a broader perspective on the challenges that they face, leading to a win-win situation: individuals gain through being able to fulfil their potential, and the actuarial profession benefits through being able to attract and retain talented people from all backgrounds.
An actuarial profession that embodies diverse teams with broad perspectives, ably communicated to the widest audiences, will be far more impactful. Organisations will have a better appreciation of the regulatory and policy culture landscape and the direction that the wind is blowing in, and will be able to anticipate trends and patterns ahead of others.
“This is not a tick-box exercise or a ‘one and done’ initiative, where we expect to have achieved diversity after a couple of years. This is a significant commitment to deliver on a good number of specific actions and, in doing so, generate momentum to move us substantially closer to our identified objectives.”- Chika Aghadiuno, chair of the IFoA Diversity Action Group
Turning words into action
We know that for our DEI strategy to be as effective as possible, we need to embed it across all aspects of the IFoA’s work. Here, we provide a rundown of just some of the ways we are bringing the DEI strategy to life across the organisation.
Leadership and culture The IFoA’s Council, Management Board, Regulation Board and Executive Leadership Team have granted permission for their demographic data to be published. Plans for how to collate that data are currently underway.
DEI at the IFoA
Earlier this year, we carried out the first colleague survey to assess perceptions of culture and experience surrounding DEI at the IFoA, and to gather data on the characteristic ‘make-up’ of our colleagues. Results have been shared with colleagues, and next steps will be to build action plans to address any areas for improvement or under-representation.
Supporting IFoA members in their careers
Discussions on the Actuarial Mentoring Programme and the link to the DEI Strategy took place at the beginning of February.
Improving DEI in our community
We held discussions with the Financial Services Skills Commission (FSSC) and have now signed up to its Access, Diversity and Inclusion Commitment, which commits senior leaders of FSSC member firms to a number of actions that are aimed at “improving the sector’s ability to secure the skills and talent needed for the future by widening access to opportunities and actively promoting diversity and inclusion”.
IFoA members based in the UK were invited to take part in a short survey on behalf of a UK Government-commissioned taskforce that was led by the City of London Corporation (bit.ly/CoL_diversity); the taskforce aimed to improve socio-economic diversity at senior levels in UK financial and professional services. Following the IFoA’s promotion of the survey, more than 1,000 IFoA members have taken part in the survey – now accounting for 23% of the total response rate.
This is not a definitive list of our work, and we are keenly aware of how much more there is to achieve. However, we hope these examples demonstrate our sincerity to deliver on the commitments outlined in the strategy. If you have not yet read our strategy, please do take a look.
Stephen Mann is the chief executive of the IFoA