Diversity and inclusion in our workforce

The commitment and expertise of our employees is the foundation of our continued success. We aim to be a leading employer that attracts talented people from a broad range of disciplines and backgrounds. By fostering a culture of inclusion, we can leverage and grow the diversity of our workforce. Our diversity & inclusion (D&I) vision is to “see, feel and live diversity — diversity of gender, race, ethnicity, generation, sexual orientation (LGBT), physical (dis)abilities and experiences – at all levels, functions and regions of Swiss Re”.

Such an inclusive corporate culture is essential for a diverse workforce. Inclusion is about respecting the uniqueness of every individual and about providing an atmosphere in which everyone feels valued and empowered to perform at a consistently high level. Being a diverse and inclusive company motivates our employees, helps to attract fresh talent and is good for bottom-line results.

There is strong evidence that diverse teams outperform non-diverse ones. As diverse teams avoid group think — and therefore institutional blindness — they can respond more quickly to changes in the external environment. Furthermore, a strong representation of local talent is crucial to developing new markets, which is one of our strategic priorities.

To foster diversity and inclusion across the whole organisation, we have set up a comprehensive strategic framework. Backed by the Group CEO and the Group Executive Committee, our diversity & inclusion agenda is driven forward by a network of 35 D&I Champions, who are senior managers from a wide range of business areas, in addition to multiple geographically-based D&I Councils and 25 inclusive employee networks at grassroots level worldwide.

Women in management positions (in %)







“Executive/senior management positions” comprises the management levels of Director/Senior Vice President upwards.
“All management positions” refers to Vice President and above.

Total workforce




Executive/senior management positions1




All management positions1




Our Global Inclusion Framework

Our “Global Inclusion Framework” rests on three pillars:

The first pillar focuses on “Inclusive Leadership”. We have developed Inclusive Leader Principles that describe the behaviours we expect of our leaders and managers to foster an inclusive work environment. These are firmly embedded in our Leadership Imperatives — our behavioural framework for leaders that support our strategy, values and brand attributes — and in our leadership development curriculum. To make these principles tangible for all our employees, we have also included them in our Personal Imperatives — our behavioural framework for all employees without line management responsibilities. At the end of each year, their performance evaluations and subsequent reward decisions are in part based on “how” they have demonstrated these desired behaviours, in addition to “what” they have accomplished.

The second pillar “Smashing Stereotypes, Opening Minds” tackles stereotyping of any kind. It centres on raising awareness of the “unconscious bias” that every one of us has and which can unintentionally influence decision-making and behaviour.

Through awareness events as well as face-to-face and web-based training, employees participate in dialogues that increase self-awareness of unconscious biases such as those related to age, sexual orientation and gender. Training on inclusive leadership and how to overcome these unconscious biases has also been incorporated into our leadership development and manager training. Last but not least, we have embedded “nudges” into our talent management toolkits for line managers: their purpose is to disrupt unconscious bias at each step in the decision-making process.

Our third pillar is “Own the Way You Work”TM. This is a cultural change initiative, which gives managers and employees more autonomy to decide how, when and where work is carried out, within applicable laws, rules and regulations. Our future success depends on our ability to create a flexible, global workforce that is responsive to the needs of our business.

The “Own the Way You Work” TM philosophy has not only become a distinctive element of our brand, it also plays an important part in our efforts to make our offices more flexible and productive, and to reduce our energy intensity (see “Tackling our carbon footprint”).

Advancing gender equality is an essential part of our Human Capital Strategy. The initiatives described above support this goal by increasing awareness of unconscious bias and by fostering open-mindedness on how, when and where work gets done. This strategic component is benefiting both women and men, as it helps to improve productivity and work/life balance.

With regard to increasing women’s representation in management, we have recently conducted country-based analyses of our talent flows and assessed ourselves against external best practices. A formal approach is currently being developed as part of our Group Talent Strategy, and progress will be closely monitored by the Group Executive Committee and the Board of Directors.

At our Switzerland headquarters, we have committed to a number of actions we expect will qualify us for certification by the industry-leading EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) organisation. And across the Group, we introduced a new Employer Brand, We’re smarter together, which emphasises gender-neutral visuals, messaging and job advertisements.