Pioneering female mentoring scheme launched to increase diversity in the actuarial profession

A pioneering mentoring scheme designed to improve diversity at senior levels of the actuarial profession is being launched with the support of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. The scheme aims to retain female actuaries within the profession through ongoing career advice and support, with the support of employers of actuaries.

Research by the IFoA has demonstrated that non-retiring female actuaries leave the profession 13 years earlier than their male counterparts, at the respective ages of 40 and 53. This means that there is far less diversity at senior levels within the profession, despite there being near parity of numbers between male and female junior actuaries.

The mentoring scheme is supported by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA), sponsored by Pension Insurance Corporation and run by specialist mentoring consultancy Moving Ahead.

The scheme will be formally launched in September 2017, and employers of actuaries are invited to a showcase event at Pension Insurance Corporation at 5pm on Wednesday 5th July, with speakers including Julia Hobsbawm OBE, best-selling author and expert on networks and "connectivity in the age of overload”. To find out more about the scheme and showcase event, click here.

Moving Ahead, and its sister company Women Ahead, currently manage the design and delivery of the cross-company mentoring scheme in the UK on behalf of the 30% Club – a group of chairs and CEOs committed to better gender balance through voluntary action. This is the largest scheme of its kind in the country with 1,250 participants in 2016-17. The experience gathered from 30% Club’s programme will support the actuarial mentoring scheme.

Moving Ahead will match 50 senior male and female mentors with recently and nearly qualified female actuaries. All matches will be cross-functional and inter-disciplinary. Ten mentee spaces are being reserved for actuaries who are returning to work after maternity leave, those who are on a career break and looking for work, or those who work for smaller firms. The other places are being offered to employers of actuaries.

The mentoring pairs will commit to meeting in person or by telephone every four to six weeks, and they will attend a series of innovative and high-impact learning and networking events to support the nine-month long process. The scheme will run from September 2017 to May 2018, with a voluntary option to extend by six months.

Nick Salter, former President of the IFoA and Chair of the IFoA Diversity Steering Group, said: “The IFoA is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion across the actuarial profession.  We are delighted to support this new mentoring scheme which aims to provide connections, inspiration and education across our sector.  This programme is a positive and practical opportunity to help female actuaries to achieve their full potential as they progress through their careers.”

Tracy Blackwell, Chief Executive Officer of Pension Insurance Corporation, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and Moving Ahead on this important initiative. As an employer of actuaries, we’re very keen to help resolve the issue faced by the actuarial profession of females leaving the profession much earlier than their male counterparts. We see mentoring as a key part of that process. This long-term initiative should, therefore, widen the overall talent pool available for all employers of actuaries and ultimately increase the number of female actuaries in senior, and leadership, roles.”

This scheme supports HM Treasury’s Women in Finance Charter which aims to achieve improved gender balance in a profession where men currently hold 77% of board level and 86% of executive committee positions. The HMT Women in Finance charter recognises that gender balanced workforces deliver better productivity and performance. A review commissioned by the Treasury found that 77% of women felt that mentoring schemes would make a difference to their career progression. 

Liz Dimmock, CEO and Founder of Moving Ahead said: “Mentoring, when done well, gives you not only great connections and careers advice, but helps unleash the potential everyone has. With this unique mentoring programme, we’re going to see women at the start of their careers being given an extraordinary opportunity to meet senior leaders who could guide them right up to company board positions.

“My own mentors helped me believe in myself, and with that inner strength, I found I reached higher and achieved more in my career than I could have managed alone.

“Mentors tell us they learn about the issues being faced by high potential women and the issues likely being faced by women in their own organisation. Whatever stage you are at in your career, you will always benefit greatly from meeting people who have different ways of seeing the world and tackling problems.”


Press enquiries to:-

1.       IFOA: Sonia Sequeira at 

2.       Moving Ahead: Timma Marett at or on 01491 579726.

3.       Pension Insurance Corporation: Jeremy Apfel, Head of Corporate Affairs, 0207 105 2140 or