In our first iteration of the 2023 Salary Survey, the question on everyone’s minds was when the bubble would burst with regard to rising salaries…
Where counteroffer culture was wreaking havoc at the beginning of the year, the fever now seems to be cooling off; as a result, salaries also don’t seem to be as inflated as they have been. Counteroffers were driving salaries higher and higher, but equally, when we consider the impact of the pandemic where salaries became stagnant and nothing changed for a long time, it could be argued that the industry has been playing catch up in recent months. But this leveling off is also reflected in data from a recent REC survey, which found that starting salaries for new employees also declined at the fastest pace in two years, suggesting that employers are moderating their pay deals as they are able to attract more candidates.
Arguably, benefits offerings are now returning to become the main driver for candidates looking to make a move. We have seen an increasing number of companies reviewing and overhauling their benefits packages in order to make themselves more competitive; it’s not just about money for most candidates, so the overall offering needs to be attractive. We are pleased to have been able to assist our clients in self-assessing their offerings and helping them benchmark their benefits within the industry.
Unsurprisingly, the skills gap within Insurance remains a significant consideration: the reality is that those who would’ve been coming into the industry at this point simply haven’t done so, and the gap is moving through the industry at a certain level which is more or less universal. Some of the clients we work with have put academies in place to tackle this and Learning & Development programs are back up and running, but with a lot of professionals also retiring, the measures in place currently simply aren’t enough to plug the skills gap effectively. This is likely to continue impacting hiring within the industry going forward for the next year or two where specialist skills are required.
With changes to flexibility and remote-working business practices dominating the headlines, the picture in the Insurance industry is a mixed one: whilst brokers can work on a hybrid basis, they still need to have face-to-face contact with people for their role, and so are expected to be in the office more; equally, Account Handlers can’t ever really be fully remote. However, it seems that the trend of working patterns within Claims is actually going the other way: because of the lack of talent pool around many firms, businesses are casting their nets nationwide in order to secure talent. Ultimately, remote working seems to be role dependent; but we have also seen some companies opting to close offices where roles can be worked remotely, or downsizing their premises, in order to cut costs. This has a significant impact on recruitment strategies for these businesses, but the cost-saving opportunities are attractive and can be difficult to resist; even as many would call Insurance a ‘recession-proof industry’, no business can deny that rising costs are and have been taking their toll on the bottom line. As a result, we could see an ongoing trend for cost-cutting in the latter half of the year.