The insurance industry is the least popular choice in the financial services sector among women due to a perceived lack of career progression, according to a report by PwC.
Its report Female millennials in financial services: strategies for a new era of talent says insurance has "particular issues" to overcome as female workers believe employers are not doing enough to promote equality and are "biased towards men" when it comes to promotion compared to other branches of the financial services sector.
Based on a survey of 8,756 female workers across all industries who were born between 1980 and 1995, the report said its image would stop 13% women from working in insurance, compared to 10% in banking and capital markets and 5% in asset management.
Of the 596 females surveyed that currently work in the finance industry, 64% said insurers weren't doing enough to encourage diversity, compared to an average of 61% in financial services overall.
A vast majority (80%) believed insurance firms talk about diversity but opportunities were not equal for all, compared to 73% across financial services in general.
In addition, 30% of women believed they were given fewer opportunities than men to undertake international assignments within insurance, compared to the average of 22% across financial services.
Jonathan Howe, PwC's UK insurance leader, said: "This should serve as a wake up call to those in the insurance sector to bring their diversity policies to life, re-evaluate how they develop their people and create a structure where women can thrive."
Jon Terry, PwC's financial services HR consulting leader, said: "These women are ambitious and looking to progress and if these expectations aren't met women will simply be put off joining or will vote with their feet and leave. Within this highly networked generation, poor perceptions of current staff can quickly spread and discourage potential recruits.
"Having visible female role models at all levels of an organisation will be an important step to show employees and potential employees that leadership positions are achievable for all."
Nick Salter, president of the IFoA, said: "The findings of PwC's research shows that the insurance industry may have some way to go on the diversity front. While many organisations will likely promote gender diversity at corporate level, it's important that this filters down to the rest of the organisation in reality, and women feel that they are on an equal footing to men in the workplace.
"An increasing percentage of IFoA students are women, 38% at last count, which shows that actuarial careers are attractive to both men and women, and we would expect that the growing number of women students will convert into a larger number of women members in the years to come, which will help create more balanced working environments where actuaries are employed."