On 13 December a Parliamentary Committee was held on ‘champions of female representation in financial services to give evidence on Sexism in the City’, which saw Amanda Blanc, Aviva’s CEO, give statements to the committee tasked with identifying gender pay gaps and what progress needs to be made in the Financial Services industry.

In a troubling statement Ms Blanc stated that there were ‘no non-diverse hires at Aviva without it being signed off by me and the chief people officer’. This was done ‘not because I don’t trust my team, but I want to make sure that the process followed for that recruitment has been diverse, has been properly done and is not just a phone call to a mate saying ‘would you like a job, pop up and we’ll fix it up for you’. Now, a reasonable question here could be whether this is simply the procedure for all senior hires, which was the topic at the time, not just the ones considered ‘non-diverse’. However, this was not the case and it was understood that non-diverse hires only, would be subject to the additional checks.

While it is not possible for claims to be brought except by someone who could show they were turned away on this basis, less favourable hiring practices on the grounds of a protected characteristic could leave the company facing claims for discrimination. Given the recent claims against the Royal Air Force on a similar basis, ensuring that recruitment practices are fair and produces suitable candidates is vital.