Zurich leads the charge publishing 2020 ethnicity pay gap figures

  • Pay data shows a 9.8% ethnicity pay gap for mean average hourly pay for 2020 – an improvement of 2 percentage points in the last year, the first insurer and one of around 16 companies to publish this data
  • Zurich UK has partnered with equality research experts, Behavioural Insights Team, to identify an action plan to address career progression, pay gaps and ethnic minority representation across its UK workforce
  • The business will work with the research team, which is jointly owned by the UK Cabinet Office, to publish an action plan in the autumn.

Zurich UK today announces the launch of a programme to tackle inequality in pay and the removal of barriers for career progression for its ethnic minority employees. The business, including its Cultural Awareness Network (CAN)[2] has partnered with the Behavioural Insights Team[3] to analyse data about its ethnic minority employees. The study will examine this to understand how Zurich attracts, recruits and promotes ethnic minority staff, as well as unravelling the causes of its ethnicity pay gap.  This will lead to a series of interventions and an action plan which will be published in the autumn this year.

The launch follows the publication of Zurich’s pay data for ethnic minority employees which shows a 9.8% gap for mean average hourly pay for 2020.   While this has improved by 2 percentage points on 2019’s figure of 11.8%, its bonus pay gap of 24.5% has widened by 7.8 percentage points on last year’s figure of 16.7%.  This increase is driven by a small number of employee changes in senior roles and new appointments being made midyear, with bonus awards for new starters made on a pro-rata basis to date of hire.

With the Equality and Human Rights Commission calling for mandatory reporting on ethnic minority pay, recruitment, retention and promotion, Zurich has committed to publishing its data which also shows 7% of its UK employees declare themselves as belonging to an ethnic minority.  While the numbers in practice may be higher as just 86% of people self-declare their ethnicity.

Last year, Zurich took similar steps to tackle its gender pay gap, resulting in a move to advertise all new vacancies as being available on a part-time, job-share or flexwork basis (as well as full time) to attract more women into senior roles. It also committed to diverse long and short lists when recruiting and reviewed the wording of all job adverts using specialist software to ensure that they appeal to a diverse range of candidates.

As a signatory of The Race at Work Charter, Zurich has already committed to five[4] principles to tackling any barriers to the recruitment and progression of ethnic minority employees. These include capturing data and publicising progress, taking action to support career progression

As part of this work, over half of Zurich’s UK executive team is involved in the Insurance Industry’s Cultural Awareness Network’s mentoring programme.  In addition, the executive team are already engaged in Zurich’s own reverse mentoring scheme, giving them the opportunity to listen and better understand the experiences of ethnic minority employees and any barriers they face to career progression.

Commenting on the launch, Tulsi Naidu, Zurich UK’s CEO said: “We have led the way with various campaigns to create a more inclusive work environment taking a number of progressive measures within our business and leading on initiatives such as the Inclusive Behaviours in Insurance pledge signed by over 130 major players in the industry. We are listening to our employees from diverse and ethnic minority backgrounds, and their experiences will help inform any action we take.

“Our data shows that we have more work to do to appoint more diverse candidates to our business and to better support them in their careers.  We are committed to doing everything we can to understand how we can progress meaningful change, which is why we fully support the mandatory reporting of this data in the same way as we do for gender.  Organisations now need practical guidance and a clear framework on how best to do this to tackle race inequality in the workplace – and we look forward to support from the Government and EHRC to help us deliver.”

Steve Collinson, Zurich UK’s Head of HR added: “We think it is critical that we build a truly diverse business that reflects our customers and communities and we are taking a structured approach by putting a concrete framework and action plan in place to move the dial.”

Lord Bilimoria, CBI President & COBRA Beer founder and Chairman, said: “Diversity drives better decision-making. So the lack of black and ethnic minority representation in the highest echelons of UK enterprise must change. Talented people must have the same rights and opportunities as anyone else to rise to the top of their careers, regardless of their appearance or background. Progress has been made over the years, but not enough, which is why it’s so important companies like Zurich act as allies for change that can make a real difference.”


Zurich supports the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s calls for mandatory reporting on ethnic minority pay, recruitment and progression, and urges the Government to produce rigorous guidance and tools for employers to tackle race inequality in the workplace.

1. Our ethnicity pay gap figures show the mean pay gap (based on hourly rates of pay at 05 April 2020) and mean bonus gap (based on bonuses paid in the 12 months to 05 April 2020). This is compared to pay for employees who have declared themselves as not belonging to an ethnic minority.
2. Cultural Awareness Network (CAN) – was launched to raise awareness of different cultures and beliefs and to promote a more supportive and inclusive culture within Zurich. This includes mentoring schemes for new starters and advising on our people policies to support BAME employees. CAN has 300 members.
3. https://www.bi.team/about-us/