Diversity in the Australian Insurance Industry

An analysis of gender and cultural diversity in leadership teams.


Johnson Partners is pleased to present its third annual “Diversity in the Australian Insurance Industry” report. This report aims to represent the current state of gender and cultural diversity in insurance leadership teams, as well as an analysis of emerging culturally diverse executive who are well positioned to become the executive leaders of the near-future.

The herein analysis is based on analysis of the Executive Leadership Teams of 24 leading direct and re-insurers in the Australian market. The companies analysed in this report are:

Gender Diversity

Female Leadership

  • Female executives now occupy 40% of the Group Executive roles in insurance in Australia, having increased from 36% in March 2022 and 34% in March 2021.
  • Of the female executives in leadership positions, the majority were in functional leadership positions. Females made up the majority of leaders in People & Culture (95% of all leaders), Legal (77%), Brand & Customer Experience (60%) and Risk (50%)
  • Female representation in leadership positions ranges from 0-67%. There are eight organisations with at least 50% female representation on their leadership team, up from one in February 2022.
  • Of the surveyed companies, 8% had a female CEO and 26% of all divisional CEOs were female.
  • Although the representation of females on executive leadership teams has increased, females are predominately represented in core enablement functions including People & Culture, Legal, Risk and Brand & Customer Experience.
  • All functions, with the exception of distribution and investments, had at least one female on the group executive leadership team of one of the surveyed organisations.

Cultural Diversity

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Leadership

  • Executives from Asian, African or Indigeous Australian backgrounds represent 5% of all executive leadership positions on the surveyed organisations. This is slightly down from 7% in 2022 and constant to 5% in 2021.
  • The representation of CALD executives on leadership teams ranged from 0-30%. Of the 24 surveyed organisations, 14 (58%) did not have an executive from a CALD background on their leadership team.
  • Of the 24 surveyed companies, two (8%) had a CEO from a CALD background and two of the total Divsional CEO (5%) were form a CALD background.
  • CALD executives on leadership teams are not concentrated within specific functions, with 10 of the 14 grouped functions having at least one CALD executive. Functions where there is not a CALD leader on an executive team included People & Culture, Operations, Distribution and Brand & Customer Experience.

Emerging CALD Leaders

  • There is a healthy pipeline of emerging executives in the Australian insurance industry. Over the past three years, we have noticed an increase in representation and progression of emerging executives from CALD backgrounds across leading direct insurance, reinsurance, brokerage and underwriting firms across Australia.
  • As of March 2023, Johnson Partners have surveyed 168 emerging executives currently at CEO to three levels below CEO in leading insurance organisations. This is up from 112 emerging executives in 2022 and 65 emerging executives in 2021.
  • Primarily, these emerging executives currently or recently have been employed by the organisations examined in the above analysis. We have also engaged with executives from specialty insurance and leading brokerage houses with transferable skills to direct insurance.
  • In addition, Johnson Partners have surveyed 71 emerging (CEO to CEO minus 3 level) Australian insurance executives currently working internationally. Of these, 46 (61%) are from a CALD background.
  • Of the 168 emerging executives from CALD backgrounds surveyed, there is a large distribution of gender, functions and organisational level. The below charts provide a function breakdown of these 168 emerging executives.

Report written by Alex Jervis. 

Alex is a Partner in the Sydney office and co-leader of the Insurance Practice. He commenced his executive search career in 2010 and has completed senior leadership assignments including appointing Board, CEO and C-suite roles across industries in Australia and the wider Asia Pacific.

Alex joined Johnson from global executive search firm Korn Ferry, where he worked in the company’s Sydney and Singapore offices on assignments across Consumer, Industrial, Life Sciences and Professional Services industries. Prior to his career in executive search, Alex worked at Intercontinental Hotels Group in its sales function.

Alex holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Wollongong, as well as a Master of International Business and a Master of Commerce from the University of Sydney.

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