We are able to remain focused and continue to deliver under challenging conditions. This can be ascribed to the level of skills attracted and retained in the Group. Sanlam employs some of the best insurance and investment skills available in the market.
The Sanlam Employee Value Proposition goes much further than simply offering competitive remuneration. It takes a holistic approach by creating an overall attractive environment that offers additional benefits to employees. Training and development further ensure that we develop and grow our people for expanded career opportunities, enhanced employability and increased income-earning potential. In 2017, we invested R313 million in people development, an increase of 19% on 2016. Flagship initiatives include our chartered accountant, actuarial, investment professional and graduate development programmes. We intend to add an information technology (IT) programme to address our increasing need for specialist IT skills. These will support strategic focus areas such as business intelligence and omni-channel distribution, and proactively manage cyber-risk, which is one of our strategic risks given our reliance on IT infrastructure in all operations.
We created 772 employment opportunities during the year in our subsidiaries, increasing office employees by 5% to reach 16 628 at the end of 2017. Sanlam is one of the largest employers in most of the markets where we operate. We enhanced value creation to employees in the form of remuneration by 7% in 2017, paying total benefits of R9,4 billion to employees of our subsidiaries.
Read more about our Employee Value Proposition and other human capital activities and outcomes in the Resilience Report and about our remuneration philosophy and policies in the Remuneration Report.
The following changes were made to our executive leadership roles:
The Sanlam Board member profiles provide detail on the current directors and executive management.