Diversity and inclusion have become increasingly critical topics in our social fabric over the past decade.
Now, more than ever, companies are discovering the value in policies that recruit and retain more diverse candidates to grow their businesses.
Not only has this improved their ability to compete on a global scale, but it’s also boosted corporate cultural competency, purpose and performance.
Clients Inspire Diversity
According to a 2017 study by Deloitte, over two-thirds of executives rated ‘diversity and inclusion’ as a significant issue within their company—an increase of 59 percent up from 2014.
With this, executives have gradually looked to build more integrated work environments where employees feel welcome and supported.
This is especially important when on-boarding employees of different backgrounds, race or ethnicity, who may already lack equal access to opportunities.
One of our oldest clients, Milliman, has been working with The International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA), a non-profit that connects black actuarial professionals and students from all over the world, to help bridge that gap.
With such low enrollments from African American students in the actuarial sciences field, IABA’s goal has been to attract and mentor a larger pool of candidates for future employment opportunities.
This past year, IABA released Diversity and Inclusion: Five Barriers Revealed, which highlights a handful of reasons for this. For one, there is a lack of black mentors who can serve as role models to increase students’ confidence and potential to pursue jobs in the field.
Similarly, in our videos, attendees discuss the impact of the Boot Camp and how it’s been instrumental in preparing them for a career in the actuarial sciences.
Many of them have also met their future coworkers and employers through the program.
Over the course of the week-long IABA Boot Camp, a cohort of African American participants have networking opportunities to connect with other black actuaries, and receive training in public speaking, database software management, career planning, resume workshops and mock interviews.
The Data Behind Actuarial Science
One may wonder, “what does an actuary even do?”
Actuaries are in charge of crunching data to inform risk assessments that impact public policy. Their work determines the parameters of many of the social benefits we enjoy today—such as financial services, healthcare access, property and casualty loss, life insurance and workplace advantages.
Actuaries also determine the probability of future events, such as accidents or natural disasters. By evaluating risk and opportunity, they are able to advise decision-makers across government sectors and insurance agencies on ways of reducing adverse financial impact.
As is true for the majority of STEM professions, African Americans only make up about seven percent of professionals in the STEM fields, according to a study put out in 2016 by Georgetown University.
The National Science Foundation also regularly shares statistics on race, gender, and disability representation that further explain the STEM gap.
Recently, it reported that 49 percent of scientists and engineers are white men, while African American men and women only make up three and two percent of all scientists respectively.
How SOT Fits In
Our agency is always looking for opportunities to explore the intersection of company culture and diversity initiatives and the recruiting efforts taking place at Milliman seemed like the perfect opportunity.
We hope this work inspires other businesses to think more strategically about how they can foster a more inclusive workplace and improve their internal diversity efforts to attract stronger candidates.
At School of Thought, we feel a major part of any company is to offer up fresh perspectives that help their business stay progressive and effectual in our modern society. Bringing on staff with varied personal histories and atypical viewpoints will only further help to stay relevant and prosperous going forward.
To learn more about the program, you can visit IABA’s website.