People and culture

At QBE, we are creating a dynamic, diverse and inclusive workplace where people can achieve their personal and professional ambitions. We believe providing great place to work and investing in our people are key to our long‑term sustainability as an organisation.


We give people the confidence to achieve their ambitions.

To be the insurer that builds the strongest partnerships with customers.

A values-aligned culture

Having a culture that mirrors and supports our values is fundamental to QBE’s ability to deliver against our vision and strategy. It also creates a stronger workplace, enhances performance and results in better outcomes for our customers and communities.

Our values represent our culture as a single, global organisation that shares knowledge and expertise to support our customers.

Our values also drive the day-to-day behaviour of our people and support us in delivering our employee value proposition (EVP). Our EVP is based on three critical pillars that capture the promise we have made to our people across all parts of our business.


A dynamic, diverse and inclusive culture

Consistent systems that reward and recognise contribution

Opportunity for people to fulfil their personal and professional ambitions

Continually engaging with employees

QBE’s culture is supported by our commitment to ongoing employee engagement and to working together to share information and ideas. As a business that relies on people, it is critical for our success that we create an environment where employees feel supported and equipped to do their best.

To enable and empower our people, we use online collaborative platforms such as Yammer and Teams. These support information sharing, group work and cross-enterprise discussion. We also engage employees through interactive forums, team meetings and networks that encourage two‑way conversation.

In 2017, our employee survey (QBE Voice) was enhanced by a new best practice third party survey tool that provides deeper insights. We can hear first-hand how people feel about working at QBE, what is working and where things could be improved around: engagement and enablement; organisational culture, leadership and management effectiveness; diversity and inclusion; and risk culture. The survey is available in several languages and we collect voluntary additional demographic data to better inform our diversity and inclusion insights.

We were pleased to see a strong survey response rate of 82% in 2017, with an overall engagement score of 67% and an enablement score of 69%.

We use insights from these initiatives to continually improve our culture and performance, engaging leaders in the results and action planning.

QBE Leadership



total of 2,573

QBE Underwriting



total of 427

Annualised Voluntary turnover


of total workforce

12.9% female

14.2% male

Developing transformational leaders

Having outstanding leaders is critical to QBE’s success.

Throughout the year, each QBE division hosts a local Leadership Exchange and every 12–18 months, our Group CEO hosts a global leadership forum. These events align our leadership teams around the world with the key priorities for QBE.

Now in its fifth year, the QBE Leadership Academy empowers employees to become more effective leaders and change agents. Participants were challenged to bring out the best in themselves and others and exposed to new ways of leading.

We regularly invest in new tools and programs to support our people leaders and their development. In 2017, we launched the QBE People Leader Hub, a new e-learning platform to help people leaders understand our expectations, support their day-to-day activities and encourage mutual support. We also piloted Ascent, a new people leader training program.

Major leadership events in 2017

QBE is a global organisation united by a single vision. Every year, we bring together leaders from different geographies and business divisions to reinforce our business strategy, provide learning opportunities and support collaboration and understanding.

In November 2017, 84 leaders attended the North America Leadership Team summit. The summit brought to life QBE’s integrated specialist insurer strategy, which provides every customer with access to products and expertise across all divisions for a holistic solution. Leaders heard real-life examples of successful cross-business collaboration and were challenged to determine how they could support a more integrated organisation.

In Australia, more than 130 Australian & New Zealand Operations leaders discussed how technology is changing our industry, learned from experts about marketplace disruption and heard directly from customers about what they look for.

Investing in learning and development

QBE recognises the contribution of long-term, customised career development to employee satisfaction and retention, and we offer a number of tools and resources to help each person identify and achieve their goals.

We encourage each employee to create a personal development plan and work on it with their manager. The plan focuses on short-term and future performance and career development needs. We also use our talent management and succession planning processes to identify high-potential employees and build their capability for future roles.

We support professional development and offer internal and external professional and skills‑based training programs, actively encourage coaching and mentoring, and provide access to secondments and role changes.

In 2017, we introduced several digital learning and development initiatives:

  • a global learning management system, Learn@QBE;
  • a career portal, accessed by all employees through our global intranet site, QUBE; and
  • the global Start Pathway program, which supports onboarding for all new employees.

Our employees develop their core technical capabilities through specific programs such as the QBE Underwriting Academy. The Academy is establishing a consistent, replicable model of underwriting excellence that is raising the bar for our business and our industry. In 2017, it had 223 participants, with an overall ratio of 52% female to 48% male since it began.

To enhance the Academy, we work with three market-based insurance institutes to deliver two-year certificate qualification programs to our foundation underwriters in their home regions.

Learning about underwriting across borders

Our Multinational team of 150 underwriters operates across all QBE divisions to service multinational clients. To ensure consistent service delivery, we have developed dedicated multinational development tools and learning modules that build on the QBE Underwriting Academy’s competency and learning solutions.

All our Multinational underwriters must successfully complete the foundation Multinational Underwriting Essentials program, from which they can further develop expertise. On completion, they can access a library of ten multinational-specific, self-paced learning modules and progress through four competency levels.

Overall workforce
Overall workforce

53% females

47% males

Geographic footprint by division
North American Operations 2,475
European Operations 1,789
Australian & New Zealand Operations 2,805
Asia Pacific Operations 1,328
Latin American Operations 1,549
Group Head Office 1,052
Group Shared Services Centre 3,142

Managing and rewarding performance

Our performance management approach ensures employees are clear about what their role involves, understand how it links to overall business outcomes, and receive timely feedback and development support. Each employee works with their manager to set annual objectives and development goals. Their achievements and development areas are then discussed at year end, forming the basis for a fair performance rating by their manager that determines, along with business performance, the level of annual incentive payment they receive. The weighting for individual performance is tailored to each employee’s role and level.

We strive to offer employees competitive financial benefits that reward and recognise their contribution. We also provide product discounts and a competitive range of benefits tailored to their needs.

It is an important part of our culture that we celebrate achievements and recognise outstanding contributions. Our global recognition program, 10/10, rewards employees who consistently demonstrate our values and make a big impact on our business and stakeholders.

Supporting health, safety and wellbeing

Several policies support a safe and healthy environment for our employees, contractors and visitors including:

  • Group Work Health and Safety (WHS) Policy;
  • Group Lone Worker Guidelines;
  • Global Flexible Work Principles.

The Board reviews and approves our WHS Policy and oversees performance, reported matters and investigation outcomes. Executive management responsibility for health, safety and wellbeing sits with Group and Regional CEOs, and all people leaders are responsible for ensuring their employees are aware of relevant policies, processes and reporting requirements.

Our Group General Counsel chairs a Global Health and Safety Working Group that discusses related issues and guides representatives.

To help our people and their families live healthy, well-balanced lives, QBE provides lifestyle benefits, flexible working arrangements and wellbeing support.

While each region takes a different approach, our wellbeing initiatives include:

  • workplace health and safety training;
  • discounted insurance products;
  • purchased leave;
  • volunteer leave;
  • access to paid leave for people dealing with domestic violence;
  • access to confidential external employee assistance programs;
  • health and wellbeing information on regional intranet sites and Yammer groups;
  • health checks, flu vaccinations, information sessions, onsite exercise classes and discounted gym memberships.



of global workforce work part-time

555 females

83 males

average tenure


6 years in 2016

average age


of global workforce work part-time

39 years in 2016

age by Division
Average age by Division

Diversity and inclusion

Promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace
QBE strives to provide a diverse, inclusive and innovative workplace and looks for opportunities to leverage our global footprint and expertise to support business outcomes. We are committed to creating an organisation that respectfully embraces all employees irrespective of visible and invisible differences. We believe this is essential to attract, retain and develop the best people and we recognise workforce diversity as an organisational strength.

Global Policy
Launched in February 2016, our Global Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Policy sets out our commitment to promoting and embedding D&I in our workplace. The Board Remuneration Committee oversees our strategy and progress and the Global D&I Council (comprising our Group Executive Committee) takes accountability for driving our agenda collectively and regionally. We report our progress publicly through QBE’s Corporate Governance Statement.

Supporting women’s empowerment
In 2017, we were proud to become a signatory to the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs). Embedding the WEPs into our thinking supports our goal to enhance and leverage D&I practices so our workplace reflects our people, customers, partners and the broader community.

Encouraging diversity
To appeal to a broader candidate pool, some QBE divisions are working with external partners to enhance our value proposition and employer brand so we can attract different groups of people. They have undertaken a range of activities across the globe.

  • External benchmarking surveys with Stonewall in the UK and Pride in Diversity in Australia to measure progress on LGBTI inclusion in the workplace.
  • Participating in and sponsoring LGBTI Pride events in Australia, North America, the Philippines and the UK.
  • Partnering with global D&I careers platform Vercida in our European Operations.
  • Sponsoring the Women from Miami (Re) Insurance Industry networking event in our Latin American Operations.
  • Partnering with local colleges and universities in Hong Kong.
  • Continuing our partnership with Career Trackers in Australia so we can double our internship opportunities for Indigenous Australians.
QBE pride

QBE announced a donation of $20,000 to the Pinnacle Foundation, which has been established to provide scholarships to LGBTIQ students who are marginalised or disadvantaged.

In the photo from left: Brandon Saputra, mentee, Margaret Murphy, Global Chief Human Resources Officer, Liam Buckley, interim Group Chief Risk Officer, Axel-Nathaniel Rose, mentee, and Mark Baxter, Chief Risk Officer Australian & New Zealand Operations.

We are also continuing to build D&I awareness and empowering employees to work together on diversity areas that they care about as individuals, including:

  • gender equality;
  • LGBTI inclusion;
  • accessibility and workability;
  • work/life integration and family;
  • inclusion of Indigenous and minority groups;
  • supporting and including military veterans.

Ongoing advocacy
Throughout 2017, we regularly participated in external dialogue on D&I issues and looked for opportunities to advocate through local partnerships.

  • QBE in North America brought together a group of insurers to support the advancement of women in insurance through mentoring and internships and the annual Million Women Mentors summit.
  • As part of the Inclusion@Lloyds industry D&I initiative, we supported Dive In, the festival for diversity and inclusion in insurance, across major cities such as London, New York, Paris and Sydney.
  • QBE’s Australian & New Zealand Operations joined the Australian Marriage Equality’s corporate support campaign.
  • Our Group CEO joined the Male Champions of Change, a coalition of Australian men of power and influence addressing gender equality issues in organisations and communities.
  • With the Australian Human Rights Commission, Deloitte Australia and other corporations, we sponsored external research on diverse customer insights that was published as Missing Out: The business case for customer diversity.

Addressing discrimination and equal employment opportunity
As part of QBE’s commitment to treating people with respect and dignity as individuals, we do not tolerate any form of discrimination.

Equal employment opportunity is an important foundation for QBE’s approach to workforce diversity and we strive to be an equal opportunity employer in all locations.

Our retention strategies aim to ensure all our people management practices and decisions are based on fairness and merit, eliminating all forms of discrimination and bias in relation to hiring, talent identification, reward and development.

Training and education on appropriate workplace behaviour and discrimination is provided to all employees and the Group Whistleblowing Policy provides guidance on how to report incidents of discrimination.

Women in senior management 1


of workforce

(Goal: 35% by 2020)

2% from 2016

Women in senior management 1 by Division
Women in senior management 1 by Division

  1. Women in senior management defined as Levels 0, 1, 2 & 3.