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13th Jan, 2022

George Sofokleous
George Sofokleous
Job Title
Senior Regional Director

The Covid-19 pandemic forced insurance and financial services firms to quickly adapt to a rapidly evolving environment. The shift to remote working has been popular for professionals, and companies are also reaping the benefits.

Developments in the sector

The introduction of remote working has been an important development in the insurance and financial services sectors. Professionals have found this change offers them a better work-life balance and businesses, particularly financial advisory specialists, have found that conducting meetings remotely enables their advisors to see more clients and drive more revenue.

This has led to more desk-based or virtual financial advisor and independent financial advisor (IFA) positions, while financial services firms have also prioritised trainee paraplanning programmes as a way of filling vacant positions. However, the demand for trainee paraplanners hasn’t affected salaries much, which have mostly remained stable across the UK over the past year, with an average expected salary of £25,900 in the South West, £23,600 in Northern Ireland, and £24,600 in the East Midlands. Senior paraplanners can expect an average salary of £38,800 in Scotland, £41,900 in the South East, and £47,800 in London.

Importance of social impact

Diversity and inclusion and ESG (environmental, social, governance) have become key focus areas for insurance and financial services businesses over the past year – particularly diversity and inclusion, given the sector’s historic challenges around gender diversity.

The advisory sector has taken steps to increase the number of women it hires and promotes by making changes to their recruitment processes and attraction strategies, which is essential for firms looking to bring through a new generation of IFAs.

Social impact has become increasingly important in customers’ decision-making process as well as influencing jobseekers’ behaviour when looking for employment. Therefore, companies that incorporate sustainable and ethical business practices into their overriding goals will put themselves in the best position to attract the top talent.

Power is in the hands of employees

There is currently a shortage of candidates in the market as people are reluctant to move, instead opting to remain in their current positions for job security. However, this is leading to businesses struggling to recruit at the scale needed to increase growth and build up their workforce’s post pandemic. Additionally, those professionals who are actively seeking work are often faced with multiple job offers and counteroffers from their employers, so businesses need to ensure their salary and benefits packages are competitive.

We conducted a survey of over 500 professionals at the end of 2021 to find out what benefits they currently receive and want. Annual leave/paid time off was the most popular desired benefit, with two-thirds of respondents stating that they find it attractive – signalling to companies that adding more days to employees’ holiday allowance is a good way to attract staff. Health insurance was ranked highly, with 51% of respondents listing it in their top-five benefits, while performance bonuses (48%), annual salary increments (45%) and a higher-than-normal pension (44%) also featured prominently in professionals’ top five.

When it comes to salaries, the shortage of candidates has made the marketplace very competitive. Professionals looking for new roles have been approaching employers with enhanced, and sometimes unrealistic, salary expectations. Employers should research and benchmark salaries to make sure they are aligned with the UK market rate. They should also compare them across the region so they know what their competitors are likely to be paying. This is critical if they get caught in a bidding war with a candidate who has been counteroffered by their current employer.

With the lack of insurance and financial services professionals available in the market, the talent race is set to continue well into 2022. Now is the time for businesses to review their hiring strategies and offer competitive benefits packages to position themselves above the competition.

For more information on salaries and benefits in the insurance and financial services sector, download our free 2024 insurance and financial services salary guide now.