It is widely accepted that it is a challenge for the industry to find people with the right experience to fill certain fraud, actuarial and underwriting roles, but it is concerning that there has been an increase in employers reporting technical skills shortages across the board..
It is encouraging, however that overall, the skills gap has not dampened confidence in the UK insurance industry’s ability to compete on a global scale and that more employers than last year are looking to increase staff numbers over the next 12 months. It seems we are not alone either – a recent study by accountancy firm EY found 77% of entrepreneurs struggle to attract the right talent. More than half said this was down to a skills shortage but, despite this, 83%still increased their headcount in the past year.
To those lacking insight, the industry has an old-fashioned image. It is frustrating to think that talented young people are entering a competitive job market completely unaware of how diverse, dynamic and interesting insurance roles can be. It is good to see however, that schools and colleges are one of the top places insurers look for new recruits, and this, alongside projects like the CII’s Discover Risk campaign, indicates we are keen to challenge these perceptions as early as possible.
It is positive to see that universities are an equally popular choice as the insurance industry needs to position itself as the go to option for high calibre graduates with mathematical degrees. Large accountancy firms have succeeded n this respect in the past, and insurers now need to follow suit.
It seems from the results that apprenticeships may offer the industry a real opportunity to tap into. At Markerstudy, we have been successfully investing in apprentices for a number of years, and I believe if we can persuade the ‘maybes’ in the sector that training and mentoring a new wave of talent is the way forward, we would go some way to closing the skills gap.
Tanya Gerrard-White, director of HR & talent development, Markerstudy Group