New FRC research highlights ongoing gender imbalance in actuarial profession

Published on Wed, 01/11/2023 - 14:15

The Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has published new research examining gender imbalance amongst actuaries in the UK, revealing ongoing barriers for women progressing in the profession.

The FRC commissioned Thinks Insight & Strategy to engage with 70 junior, senior, and ex-actuaries – which included 40 in-depth individual interviews. The research found that while some progress has been made recently, there are still significant obstacles for women entering and advancing in the actuarial field.

Key issues highlighted include a lack of female role models at senior levels, and a culture, including among clients, that has served to constrain equal participation of women in discussions and decision-making.

There was also found to be a lack of transparency around progression opportunities, as well as difficulties balancing career breaks and caring responsibilities with actuarial exams and demanding careers. This contributes to a drop-off of women actuaries in their 30s and 40s and low representation of women in top positions.

However, the research also put forward numerous examples of best practice and suggestions from actuaries themselves on improving gender balance going forward. Recommendations include line managers taking an active role in developing female actuaries' careers, better support around maternity leave and flexible working.

Mark Babington, the FRC’s executive director of regulatory standards, said: “This important research highlights that while progress has been made, there are still areas where more work is needed to improve gender balance in the actuarial profession, particularly at senior levels.

“The FRC hopes the insights and suggestions in this report will help support positive steps forward,” Babington added.

The report was also was submitted as evidence to the Treasury Committee's recent inquiry on Sexism in the City.

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