While the insurance industry has not escaped the impact of the pandemic, it responded quickly and amidst challenges, has found opportunities in the short, medium and long term. Most businesses have been able to transition to remote working with relative ease and the demand for insurance has continued to rise. In response, insurance hiring has contracted but remained relatively stable, with businesses continuing to backfill roles and many businesses shifting to more fixed-term contracts, interim engagements or temporary assignments.
It is important to make this distinction relative to the wider economy and job market. The pandemic has created a polarisation of the labour market, where certain industries and/or professions have borne the brunt of economic contraction, furlough schemes and resulting job losses. In contrast, other industries, including insurance, remain relatively stable, even if cautious, with growth plans, projects, and resulting recruitment and resourcing requirements keeping pace.
The talent shortage that exists within insurance therefore shows no signs of abating. While hiring may have slowed, many candidates have also delayed their job search awaiting further market certainty. This has resulted in ongoing talent shortages for the most sought-after skill sets. When confidence does return, it is anticipated that the pent-up demand will spur the insurance labour market forward, as businesses look to replace departing employees as well as create new roles.
Factors influencing the insurance recruitment market
Despite acting with some caution and due to the relative financial health of insurance firms, most are looking to remain competitive and ensure they’re in a healthy position to grow when we return to some normality. As a result, contract recruitment has surged in the last 12 months, allowing projects and business-critical work to proceed, opening up opportunities in the insurance industry for contractors.
While entry-level and traditionally easy-to-fill roles have seen less buoyancy, with firms re-training and hiring internally when they can, roles that have historically been hard-to-fill continue to be. Candidates with niche experience remain in popular demand, as do those with digital and technical skills.
Given the current landscape, where business is largely conducted virtually, there is a greater need for soft skills from candidates. Communication skills and the ability to work independently are vital in these conditions.
What are the current opportunities in the insurance industry?
Due to the rise of instant communication that consumers now have with insurance providers, for example through smartphones, live chat messaging, etc., the insurance sector is becoming increasingly consumer-led – customers expect instant access to products and services. This is an opportunity for insurers to provide their product range, even offering non-insurance products to customers. While insurance products are generally currently protective, preventative insurance will see a rise.
Technology continues apace which opens up opportunities for the sector, especially when it comes to utilising big data. Data on this scale greatly increases accuracy of risk prediction, allowing firms to create better pricing structures.
Mergers with fintech and insurtech companies will create more opportunities for those working within the industry, as will wider, improved products and services for customers.
What are the current challenges posed by working in insurance?
The industry needs to adapt to societal changes as a result of our increasingly digital lives, whether increased personal risk such as car-shares booked on smartphones, and staying in homes not registered as guest houses.
Cyber-crime and catastrophic events (such as we are currently witnessing, and issues arising as a result of climate change) will continue to pose a challenge – firms will need to navigate these potential disruptors and model accordingly, while candidates will need to be adaptable to the new demands this will create.
While technology offers opportunities for better products and services, the speed of changes runs the risk of firms and employees lagging behind if they don’t keep pace; investment in learning is vital.
How to navigate the insurance jobs market
Recruitment within the insurance sector has remained fairly buoyant, with permanent hiring still taking place and candidate shortages in particular areas.
Candidates can access advertised roles via social media, advertising platforms and career websites, however recruitment agencies and workforce solutions providers have access to additional roles that are not widely advertised plus give job seekers and employers alike access to the hidden job market. Maximising own networks may also provide further opportunities for roles not yet in the public domain.
For the majority of roles, the interview process will still take place virtually – workforce solutions providers, like Davies can help navigate this ‘new normal’, with interview tips and coaching designed for the virtual world.
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