DORSET insurer LV= is urging all its female staff to take part in a survey it is sponsoring that aims to help bridge the gender pay gap.

The 2018 Women’s Sat Nav to Success Survey was created by Bournemouth-based author and psychologist Diana Parkes, who gave up a six-figure salary in the corporate world to work towards gender equality.

She is also helping LV= deliver a new development programme, targeted at women who want to progress their careers, with the aim of ensuring more move into senior roles.

Ms Parkes, a former senior manager with global organisations such as Mars, Coca-Cola and Carlsberg, said: “I’m pleased that LV= is taking the issue of gender diversity seriously.

“The Women’s Sat Nav to Success Survey is the result of seven years’ research and its findings will provide employers, professional institutions and policy makers with a clear picture of specifically what needs to change, why and how.”

The first annual Women’s Sat Nav to Success survey, carried out in 2017, found that only one in 10 were clear about where they could progress in their career.

Only 14 per cent asked for higher rewards or new opportunities, while only 55 per cent felt their contribution was valued.

Ms Parkes said: “This combination of not being heard and not speaking up is a fundamental driver of the gender pay gap.”

She added: “The great news is that half of the women who took part in the first survey said they changed their approach as a result and were able to take immediate action, ranging from taking an opportunity they hadn’t considered before, to securing a mentor, to even applying for a new job.”

Ms Parkes achieved senior management positions in the corporate world. But when she was passed over for a second board position in favour of a lesser-qualified man, she gave up her post to work on gender equality.

She now works with businesses across the south to address the lack of women in leadership and key professions and industries, as well as the pay gap.

She has identified 20 strategies for realising women’s career potential, which both employers and staff can follow.

LV= has reported women being receiving a median hourly pay rate 23.5 per cent lower than men.

Anna Cole, marketing director at LV=, said: “At LV= we do ensure equal pay but, following a deeper analysis of our gender pay gap, we know that our gap is driven by the structure of our workforce. At present, we have a lower representation of women in senior leadership roles and this is something we want to change.“We’ve already committed to achieving at least 33 per cent of female representation on our executive committee and their direct reports by 2019 as well as 40 per cent, or above, female representation at senior levels within LV= by 2020.

“We’re working hard to deliver on this promise and are doing so through a variety of means including a cross-company, cross-sector mentoring scheme, our women’s career development programme and the PACE gender network, which acts to strengthen role model visibility and amplify male ally advocacy.

“We’re also very pleased to be working with Diana and will be drawing on the valuable research she has undertaken.”

Other supporters of the 2018 Women’s Sat Nav to Success Survey include, The Successful Women in Business Network and the Dorset Institute of Directors.

To take part, visit