Getting to know Caroline Barber and understand her role as Global Program Manager for Inclusive Recruitment at WTWCaroline, tell us about your new current role at WTW, what it is, and what it entails?
I have recently taken on the newly-created role of Global Program Manager for Inclusive Recruitment at WTW. The purpose of the role is to fully imbed our existing Inclusive Recruitment strategy and to come up with new initiatives and ideas to attract and hire more diverse talent.
Tell us about the WTW journey to developing a role dedicated to Inclusivity and Diversity and the purpose of the role?
WTW has always had a very strong focus on the importance of I&D within the business and has identified that, in order to continue delivering our commitments in this space, a role has been created within our recruitment function which is dedicated to I&D. For me, it shows just how serious WTW are about I&D and ensuring that all colleagues are supported and are able to bring their full selves to work every day.
Do you think companies are starting to evolve in their thinking and can you share an example of this?
Absolutely. Having worked in the insurance industry for the last 20 years, I have seen changes being made, although we still have a long way to go. What was once an environment which was severely lacking in diversity has become much more inclusive and this can only be a positive thing. I for one don’t want to work somewhere where everyone is the same and has similar ideas and outlooks. By having more diverse colleagues, we are fostering a much more exciting, creative and productive business.
What challenges do you still face in this recruitment space of D+I and how can we overcome them?
As an industry, we have come a long way, however there is so much more we can do to create inclusive working environments. Education and training are huge factors here and the more we are able to talk openly and honestly about the challenges which we still face, the easier they will be to overcome. I also think that businesses can do a lot to work together and create a more inclusive industry as a whole.
Perhaps you can share why WTW is participating in the returner programme?
WTW recognises the wealth of talent there is amongst returners and the huge benefit they can bring to the business. Returners can bring extremely valuable skill sets and different perspectives to a team and contribute massively to their success.
You mentioned a small career break yourself – what did you do during your career break?
I took a career break of around 9 months in 2019 in order to reassess what I wanted to do and where I wanted my career to go. I felt as though I has sat in the ‘comfy seat’ for too long and needed a new challenge. During my break I had a much-needed rest and also spent time focusing on myself and my priorities – pilates and running also played a very big part in this! It also enabled me to have a bit of breathing space and spend some really valuable time with friends and family.
How did you return to work and into which role?
When I started thinking about returning to work, I knew it had to be at the right time for me. Finding the right role was also crucial – I didn’t want to undo all of the good work I had done! One of my priorities was to work more locally and not to have such a long commute as I had previously. I also wanted to work in an environment where I would be supported and could develop my career. The role I returned to was as an Underwriter (something I had done for many years) but in a different area to my previous role. This enabled me to use my skills but also do something which wasn’t identical to what I had done before.
Any advice for others looking to return to work?
Don’t be concerned about what other people think about having taken a career break. I was very nervous about how others would perceive me taking time out, however it was only ever viewed positively. Whatever the reason for the break it should never be an issue and if you come across an employer who thinks it is, they aren’t the right fit for you! Returning to work is never easy, however I found it to be an extremely positive experience and has enabled me to take my career in a completely different direction and find a role which I love!
The Insurance Industry is an industry Inclusivity has worked with for some time and we have excellent connections with the UK’s top employers. If you are on a career break seeking to return to this industry we urge you to submit your C.V to us here. Or view all opportunities here, all candidates we place will receive our unique 1:1 coaching and on-going support to ensure your transition back to work with confidence.