Why hiring in the insurance sector has hit record levels – defying the skills shortage

by Heat Recruitment

The UK is in the midst of a skills shortage. Today, business leaders across all industries are struggling to fill positions with the employees they need to drive growth and profitability. All industries but insurance, that is. In the face of economic uncertainty and a shrinking talent pool, the insurance sector has defied expectations in securing fresh talent.

But is it any surprise?

The UK’s thriving insurance and long-term savings sector is a national success story. In 2017, a report from the Association of British Insurers found individual workers in the industry were almost twice as productive as workers in sectors such as construction and manufacturing, each contributing between £135,000 and £150,000 to the economy every year. Further, of the 309,000 workers in the sector, 86% are employed full time: that’s significantly higher than the UK average of 67%.

However, as increased regulatory pressure and a new wave of cyber-crime threaten to rock the proverbial boat, will the insurance sector continue to sail through the storm on the talent front, and what has kept it a-float thus far?

Increased market growth

2017 was a turbulent year to say the least, but for the insurance industry, it was a period of considerable growth. Fuelled by a sizeable injection of overseas investment, the sector profited from the financial backing it needed for broker growth and acquisition. The result was a sharp rise in competition between existing companies and new start-ups on the scene.

In order to differentiate from key players in the market, many insurance businesses have diversified their offering by expanding into new sectors such as cyber and technology. These new areas have generated a growing demand for specialist talent: unsurprisingly, the insurance sector has responded with a hiring spree.

An attractive candidate offering

Many firms in the insurance sector have tackled the talent war head-on, by sharpening their recruitment strategies and refining their employee value propositions.

By building stronger and more attractive USPs, insurance firms are benefiting from a steady influx of graduates seeking a positive culture in which to hone and develop their skills. Many are even breaking down the barriers of the traditional 9-5 structures to offer their staff flexible working, adding to their already desirable candidate offering.

Of course, the sector often outperforms other industries in talent acquisition on account of its reputation as an extremely dynamic, lucrative and rewarding profession – after all, the UK insurance and long term savings industry is the largest in Europe, and the third largest in the world. Joining the sector is therefore seen as a safe yet exciting choice to young candidates looking to increase their earnings fast.

Training and development

Forward-thinking firms understand that the acquisition and subsequent retention of top talent relies on their sustained commitment toward the professional development of their staff. Insurance giant Allianz, for example, introduced a graduate training scheme designed to nurture their own talent pipeline and future-proof their firm by cultivating the next generation of underwriters and technical specialists.

The scheme allows those new to the insurance sphere the chance to take the next big step on their career path, while gaining a huge breadth of experience.

This is an appealing offer to most ambitious graduates, but Allianz are just one of many insurance firms whose focus is fixed on the training and development of their staff. Naturally, this willingness to take talent under their wing has helped to keep the insurance sector take centre-stage for both passive and active candidates searching for new opportunities. Should this continue, the insurance sector should only see clear skies ahead amidst a cloudy economic climate.

At Heat Recruitment, we’re experts in all things Insurance. If you’re an employer looking for your next hire, or a candidate looking for that perfect role, get in touch with our team today.

By Dave Bell