UK Gender Pay Gap

This report provides data about Aspen’s 2023 gender pay gap for our UK employees, as well as context for our data and the actions we are taking to close it.

When we talk about our progress and our story, we don’t just talk about our business turnaround, but the significant, positive change we have made in our culture.

Those who follow Aspen will be familiar with our transformation journey, and how we pride ourselves on the long way we’ve come over the past few years. But when we talk about our progress and our story, we don’t just talk about our business turnaround, but the significant, positive change we have made in our culture. We are particularly proud of our efforts to create a diverse, nurturing working environment for all.
Our focus on gender equality is a key component of this. Although progress is slower than I’d like to see, I know that my leadership team and my peers at the Group Executive Committee are committed to attracting and building a more inclusive workforce, and I can see a positive culture at Aspen that respects and embraces diversity. We were pleased to be recognized as one of the Lloyd’s Syndicates to meet or beat their target to have 35% women in leadership positions, but we recognise that there is still much work to be done. Having more women represented at the top table is an issue across the industry, and I will continue to be a champion of our collective efforts towards more equal representation in Boards, Executive Committees and senior leadership roles.

It will come as no surprise that my commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is very personal. I am vocal about the importance of creating businesses that embrace diversity not simply because it is the right thing to do, but because diversity of thought and experience makes us stronger. As I settle in my new role as CEO, Aspen UK, I will spend time looking at how we continue our journey towards a more inclusive workplace, and will continue to work with Lloyd’s and our peers in the industry as we collectively work to make insurance a more natural career option for women.

Through our Aspen internship, graduate and now our apprenticeship programmes we are attracting people who 15 years ago I do not believe would have considered a career in insurance. Not only women but people from ethnic minority groups and candidates who have not been to university. These colleagues provide a huge opportunity for a diverse workforce of the future. We now need to ensure that people from all backgrounds are supported to build their careers at Aspen so that we see increasing diversity at all levels of our business and, increasingly, into senior leadership roles. This will be a particular focus for me and I will continue to give my personal and professional leadership to this work.

– Sarah Stanford, CEO, Aspen UK

Aspen’s UK pay and bonus gap at 5 April 2023

In 2023, Aspen’s mean gender pay gap, defined as hourly pay, was 28.1%, and the median hourly gap pay was 28.8%. These figures represent a 3.5% increase in our mean gender pay gap and a 4.9% in our median gender pay gap compared to 2022.

Pay Gap – Difference between men and women

Difference between men and women
Mean Median
Pay Gap 28.1% 28.8%

Gender Pay Gap Report 2023

Summary of data (by Quartile) as at 5 April 2023:

The main driver for the increase was a higher number of men hired into senior positions in 2023. While we have diversity criteria embedded in our hiring process and other action plans to increase the diversity of our business, the rapid growth of the business and our transformation programs have resulted in a demand for a number of very senior roles that were filled by men. This resulted in an increase of our gender pay gap in the short term, however we continue to focus on reducing the disproportion of men vs women at senior levels of the organization.

The ratio of women hires to the upper quartile increased by 6% in 2023 to 36.8%, while just under 30% hires in the upper middle quartile were women (compared to 46.2% in 2022). Women hires in the lower middle quartile and lower quartile were 55.2% and 54.4% respectively. The lower quartile saw a significant decrease in women hires compared to 2022 (-24%), however hires in this quartile were predominantly women in 2022.

17% of women and 25% men were either promoted or received salary adjustments. The average promotional pay rise for women was higher in the upper and lower quartiles, and lower or equal in the middle quartiles.

Bonus Gap – Difference between men and women

Summary of data (by Quartile) as at 5 April 2023:

Difference between men and women
Mean Median
Bonus Gap 47.4% 50.0%

Our mean bonus gap was 47.4% (compared to 53.2% in 2022) and our median bonus gap was 50% (compared to 47.5% in 2022).

This represents a slightly more rapid increase of women receiving bonus – 5% increase in women (87.6% vs. 82.6%) compared with a 2% increase in men receiving bonus in 2023 vs. 2022 (89.3% vs. 87.1%). In terms of the hourly difference in bonus pay, the mean gap decreased by 5.8% (47.4% vs. 53.2%). This was driven by a 29% increase in the average bonus pay for women vs. a 15% increase for men.

Our action plans

We continue to drive our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) agenda, and we achieved some significant milestones in 2023. We were named by Lloyd’s of London as one of the 17 companies in the Lloyd’s market that had achieved or exceeded the goal of 35% women in leadership roles with 44% falling into this category.

This included 11% of positions in our UK Executive Committee and 44% in our UK Board of Directors.

We were pleased to receive this endorsement from Lloyd’s but we recognize that this is an ongoing journey and are fully committed to developing a more diverse workforce and closing our gender pay gap.

In January 2024, Sarah Stanford was promoted to CEO, Aspen UK. While Sarah was already in a senior role as Active Underwriter, Lloyd’s Syndicate 4711, and a member of Aspen’s Group Executive Committee, her appointment to the most senior role demonstrates Aspen’s commitment to offering career opportunities to all our talent.

Our activity to reduce our gender pay gap falls under three main areas:

• Attracting and Hiring Diverse Talent – attracting a diverse workforce and appointing more women into senior leadership roles
• Building Diverse Talent – ensuring women at every level – and particularly those ready to step up to management and senior leadership roles – have the support they need
• Build Inclusion – ensuring everyone at Aspen feels they can bring their whole selves to work

We formally report on DE&I data and activity twice a year to our Group Executive Committee. Critically, this group is highly supportive of activities to diversify our workforce, including at senior levels, and we will continue to use their visible leadership to champion change.

It should be acknowledged that looking solely at the gender pay gap and ignoring other DE&I and fairness data beyond this, can fail to capture the true story of fairness within an organization. Gender pay gaps are influenced by many factors such as recruitment and attrition rates, external market pay expectations and historical organizational and occupational structures. This means that the gender pay gap can be a lagging indicator of progress that may fail to fully reflect DE&I accomplishments, as well as shortcomings. – Highlights from PWC – Mandatory UK Gender Pay Gap Reporting paper (May 2023)

Attracting and hiring diverse talent

In 2023 we commissioned an independent inclusivity audit of our approach to hiring. This identified a number of strengths including the use of gender-neutral language and the tools we use to support the hiring process. In 2024 we will be implementing some additional recommendations, including greater promotion the work we do on DE&I to potential applicants.

Our early careers programs have helped us to create a strong pipeline of diverse talent. In 2023, 67% of our graduate intake and 60% of our interns were female. We were shortlisted for the 2023 Insurance Insider Diversity and Inclusion Award for our work on early careers.

In 2024, we will be launching an Apprenticeship Program, which we believe will be another route to bringing diverse talent not just into Aspen but to the insurance industry more broadly.

We have an “achieve or explain” goal for women on senior level shortlists and have seen an increase in the number of shortlists that featured at least one woman although the final appointee is still more likely to be a man. This is largely as a result of needing to hire very senior specialists in functions that have historically been male-dominated. Our work to encourage greater diversity in our early careers programmes and encouraging internal development are both aimed at increasing the pipeline of diverse talent across all functions in coming years.

We want to better understand our data to improve the way we hire. In 2023, 83% of applicants shared their diversity data with us, and we are planning to build reporting functionality that provides insights on talent pipelines, from application to appointment, so we can identify where we are most successful in hiring diverse talent and share learning with other parts of our business. In early 2024 we launched a new program of comprehensive education and training for hiring managers, alongside tools to support inclusive hiring such as standard competency-based question sets.

Building diverse talent

We refreshed and relaunched Breakthrough, our program to connect women who are at the mid-level in our business with a Group Executive Committee sponsor. We currently have five women on the program. Our Group mentoring scheme, which we launched in 2023, had excellent levels of interest with female colleagues making up 42% of our mentors and 47% of mentees – this latter group is higher than the percentage of women in our workforce overall.

We believe parental leave support is crucial to building a pipeline of diverse talent, and our hybrid working model supports people with parental responsibilities to better balance home and work. In 2023, we undertook a survey to understand the experience of employees who take some form of parental leave, and are using feedback to help people navigate sometimes complex policies and schedule some activities across the business to raise awareness of our policies.

In 2024 we will be launching a simplified approach to applying for internal roles as well as making our internal talent more visible. Allied with training for managers and visible leadership from the Group Executive Committee DE&I sponsors, we believe that this will create more opportunities for inclusive promotions.

Building inclusion

GAIN, our gender and inclusion network, is a thriving group which is integral in helping us to create an inclusive environment that ensures women feel supported in the workplace. GAIN members are leading our project on promoting parental leave, facilitating discussions on gender within their own teams and continue to deliver a wide range of activities including hosting information-sharing events on the menopause and Q&A sessions with guest speakers. GAIN works closely with RESET – our race and ethnicity network – in recognition of the importance of intersectionality in driving inclusion.

Our 2023 Group engagement survey results show there is no material difference between the experience of our male and female colleagues– 82% say they would recommend Aspen as a great place to work and 88% say their manager genuinely cares about their wellbeing.

We refreshed In My Shoes, our reverse mentoring program, in 2023. This powerful scheme allows groups who have been traditionally marginalized in the insurance industry, including women, to share their experiences and insights with senior leaders. We believe that this type of scheme is critical in helping to create an inclusive environment that is led from the top.

We recognise that our action plans will take years to significantly reduce and eventually close the gender pay gap in our business, and are aware that there is no fast-track solution if we are to achieve lasting change. Shifting the dial at senior levels remains our biggest challenge, but we believe our diversity agenda is moving in the right direction, and we are seeing positive change, as DE&I is slowly but steadily more strongly embedded in our culture, our values and our language as a business. Our priority in 2024 is on hiring and attracting talent, and we are revisiting the way we tell our story as an employer, and the way in which we reach our potential candidates.


About this report

This report includes data for all our UK-based employees who were in employment on 5th April 2023.

The relationship between the gender pay gap and equal pay

As differences in average earnings are affected by factors such as women and men being clustered into different types of work, a gender pay gap is a reasonably good indicator of women’s position in comparison to men within the given population.

However, because differences in average earnings cannot show whether women are doing equal work to men, or whether the differences in pay are for some legitimate reason, a gender pay gap based on differences in average earnings is not an indicator of the extent to which women are getting equal pay.

Legal requirements

In line with the UK Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 in force from April 2017 onwards, companies in the UK with over 250 employees are required to annually disclose their gender pay gap.

In this report we fulfil the statutory requirements, as well as provide relevant context along with our approach to closing the underlying gap.

Mean and median
1Mean is equivalent to Average
2A median involves listing all of the numbers in numerical order. If there is an odd number of results, the median is the middle number. If there is an even number of results, the median will be the mean of the two central numbers