6th August 2023
Many young people will have strong preconceptions about the pensions industry and the people who work within it. There is an obvious association between pensions and old age, and this leads to an association between the pensions industry and a culture that is bland, sedate and socially conservative - nothing could be further from the truth.
A modern workplace culture
When the Pensions Management Institute (PMI) was established in 1976, its initial yearbook showed that it had just two female Fellows. We’ve made massive strides since then. Today’s pensions industry is completely committed to reflecting the changing face of society in general.
Employers have adopted policies that actively promote Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) within the workplace. The pension industry is home to people from dramatically different backgrounds, and is all the stronger for it. A commitment to EDI in the workplace is far more than just a concern for social justice. A commitment to EDI can help employers build a more positive and productive workplace culture while also benefiting their bottom line.
A diverse and inclusive workplace brings together individuals with different perspectives and experiences, which can lead to new and innovative ideas. In contrast, colleagues who share a similar background have a strong tendency towards ‘groupthinking’ and are far less well equipped to embrace innovation.
When employees feel that their employer values and respects their differences, they are more likely to be engaged and committed to their work, leading to higher retention rates. Entrants to today’s pensions industry feel respected and valued, and respond by performing particularly effectively in the workplace. Pension provision in the UK experiences almost continuous change, and committed employees are better equipped to manage this change with vigour and enthusiasm.
Young people are far more likely to be attracted to employers who share their values. Employers that are committed to EDI are often viewed as progressive and socially responsible, which can enhance their reputation and attract top talent. Additionally, a diverse and inclusive workplace can create a more positive work environment, which can lead to increased productivity and better business results. Employers that provide childcare facilities, for example, enable parents to continue their careers. With the costs of childcare as high as they are, this plays a vital role in retaining talented individuals in the workforce. It also helps employees make a choice between parenthood and a career.
A diverse workforce can better understand and connect with customers from a wide range of backgrounds, which can improve customer relationships and loyalty. A company has far more potential for success when the backgrounds of its employees mirror the society that it serves.
Historically, the pensions industry has resembled much of the UK’s employment culture. Today, however, there is an uncompromising commitment to ensuring that young people – regardless of social background, gender, sexuality or ethnicity - have an equal opportunity to work within a workplace environment that values them for who they are, and offers them the opportunity to thrive.
With the pensions profession constantly evolving, find out more about the different fields within this profession by reading the ‘Fields of Work - An Overview’ article.
About the Author
Director of Policy & External Affairs
Tim Middleton has worked in the pensions industry since 1987. His roles have covered consultancy with Bacon & Woodrow (now Aon), Mercer and Barnett Waddingham.
He is currently Director of Policy and External Affairs for the Pensions Management Institute (PMI), where he works extensively on the Policy and Public Affairs Committee and provides input into PMI’s education and events programmes.
He also writes frequently for the pensions press. He is a Fellow of the PMI and holds the CII’s Diploma in Financial Planning. He is a past chairman of the PMI’s London Group.