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News and analysis HR news briefing

Part-time policy at Zurich sees gender diversity jump t o c k

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1 Zurich makes all vacancies part-time Gender diversity leaps after firm implemented policy in 2019

2 Glassdoor announces top 50 employers Bain & Co tops list followed by ServiceNow and


3 Employees think

9% raise fair But workers think a below-inflation rise more likely

4 Tribunal loss for boss who assumed sexuality Texts ruled to be harassment

5 2023 predictions for UK immigration policy Skills shortages set to escalate in already hard-hit sectors

Zurich UK has seen a fivefold increase in the number of female part-time hires since it started offering all roles on a parttime or flexible basis in 2019. The policy, which saw female part-time hires jump from 23 to 119 per year, requires the company to advertise every vacancy with the option of applying on a part-time, flexible or job-share basis, and use of gender-neutral language in ads.

Since its application, the policy has seen a 16% increase in the number of women applying for jobs at the firm. The policy has also had a pronounced effect in senior hires.

In the 12 months to January 2023, Zurich hired 45% more women into senior roles compared with the same period in 2019, a difference of 62 to 90.

CHRO Steve Collinson said he was proud to see the company’s policy have such an impact and encouraged other organisations to do the same.

He said: “Despite demand for part-time and flexible working, the majority of jobs advertised still fail to offer flexible options.

“This means that many people with family or caring responsibilities are faced with huge barriers when looking to enter or move within the labour market. This needs to change.”

Ann Cairns, global chair of the 30% Club, an organisation dedicated to boosting the number of women in boardrooms, said it was fantastic to see such a boost to the number of women at Zurich, particularly those in influential positions.

She said: “Flexible working is now so much better understood and valued by business leaders .”

Tribunal loss for boss who assumed worker’s sexuality

A Manchester man has been awarded damages for harassment on the grounds of his perceived sexual orientation, an employment tribunal in January found.

A former apprentice for the now-defunct Cavity Claim Group, the claimant was twice subjected to harassing texts from his boss, the tribunal ruled.

On the first occasion his boss, Reece Driscoll, messaged in January 2018 “don t want to say but your gay are you [sic]”.

Two months later, a er a dispute over deducted pay in which the claimant had gone to Acas and the Citizens’ Advice Bureau (CAB), Driscoll texted: “Listen you little gay boy I’m the big gay boy and get on one let’s talk before meetings I wi I listen to you before we go into meetings is that ok [sic]”. This later text was found to be a particular abuse of Driscoll’s position by employment judge Paul Holmes given the claimant’s prior consultation of Acas and the CAB. The claimant was awarded £2,763 in compensation and interest.

Pam Loch, solicitor and managing director of employment law firm Loch HR, said the case was a good example of the importance of HR teaching good, lawful management practice.

She said: “Part of the role of good, proactive HR professionals is management education, working with business owners and their senior teams to ensure cultures that are inclusive for all. Failing to get this right can be costly – even business critical.”

6 HR January/February 2023

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