The insurance and financial services sector has demonstrated remarkable flexibility and resilience in overcoming a range of obstacles in the past 12 months, especially the after-effects of the pandemic and the economic fallout from global conflict.
As the industry continues to navigate these obstacles, we’re seeing a greater number of businesses embracing technological changes, revolutionising the world of work for a new generation.
These changes include the continuing culture shift in mergers and acquisitions as private equity firms and consolidators take advantage of growth opportunities, with profit margins climbing at pace. As a result, there are currently more jobs available than specialist candidates to fill them, and as we progress through 2023, I don’t see that changing as the UK continues to grapple with a skills shortage.
Demand outweighing supply
Insurance and financial services provide ongoing opportunities for people with different skillsets and abilities. Even during a time where demand far outweighs supply, businesses are being urged to be creative in their approach to fostering growth and, most importantly, securing talent.
Throughout the sector, we have seen a demand for roles where an industry qualification is required, such as paraplanner, loss adjuster, financial advisor and chartered financial planner. However, the sector continues to struggle with more experienced workers leaving the industry than joining it, leading to a desire to be more creative when attracting experienced professionals.
Just as remote working remains at the forefront of the sector’s preferred business model, remote interviewing has reduced the hiring process from six weeks to two weeks. This has created many logistical benefits, as well as a heightened awareness of how roles can be redefined to better suit the needs of employees, with businesses now moving quickly to attract the best talent.
The marketplace has been volatile over the last three years, due in part to the pandemic and ensuing political and global uncertainty. In contrast to the so-called Great Resignation of 2022, the biggest challenge for businesses this year will be the reluctance of candidates wanting to leave their roles owing to continued financial uncertainty. That said, there is an opportunity for more economic stability within the sector as profits rise, which will allow businesses to plan more confidently for growth and maintain an ongoing culture of innovation.
High demand for specialist talent
Generally, given market and global circumstances, businesses are increasingly reaching out to industry experts for comfort, reassurance, and guidance over their insurance and financial services needs. As a result, many businesses have had their busiest and most profitable trading years, resulting in a high demand for specialist talent.
As businesses come to terms with economic uncertainty, employers will do well to keep the needs of their workforce uppermost: offering the best work-life balance possible, alongside greater flexibility, to ensure staff are well looked after and want to remain in their roles.
New and emerging roles within the sector are sparse, but working patterns are evolving, aimed at providing a positive and healthy work environment.
Insurance and Financial Services Expert
Dynamic working, hybrid working and, to a lesser extent, full time roles condensed to four-day weeks, are steering the industry.
In my experience, professionals who move within the sector to chase a higher salary are tending to find it a short-lived experience. Before doing so, jobseekers need to fully understand why they want to move and ideally have three compelling reasons to do so before ensuring their reasons cannot be fulfilled within their current firm.
Being aware of job value
Employees are much more aware of their worth in a specialist market in terms of salary, benefits and working conditions. Salaries and flexible working conditions have improved as a result and, in most instances, employers have reacted positively to this and made the necessary changes to maintain a happy, healthy and productive workforce. Flexible working, be that hours or location, together with an extensive benefits package, are now the driving forces behind attracting professionals to the sector.
When it comes to salaries, the continued shortage of candidates has made the sector hugely competitive. Even though money isn’t the only thing professionals hold high in value, both employers and candidates are encouraged to explore and benchmark salaries to understand the market value of roles.
In this fast-moving sector, there may be times when a rapid change is needed to build an entirely new team or bring in a professional to increase productivity and offer strategic guidance. To attract and secure the best staff, employers are urged to act quickly and decisively, while listening to the needs of their existing staff to understand what they most value. Nothing, within limit and reason, should be off the table when considering employee engagement and satisfaction.
Companies that show employees and potential candidates a willingness to listen and make changes where necessary will contribute towards continued business success.
Insurance and Financial Services Expert