The Impact of Covid-19 on Employment and the Insurance Recruitment Sector
In April 2020, Covid-19 had significantly impacted on the employment and insurance recruitment market, with many facing unemployment and businesses having to close. However, ten months on, confidence is returning as the market becomes increasingly active as it adjusts to a new format. Steven Lawes, Chief Executive of Lawes Consulting Group, provides an update on how the Coronavirus pandemic has shaped employment and the insurance recruitment sector as we move forward in 2021.
Q. Recruiters like Lawes Consulting Group will have a serious part to play both now and post Covid-19. How have you and the team been working to mobilise the UK insurance workforce, whilst adjusting to the new nature of recruitment, from the integration of technology, to embracing the increase in remote and flexible working?
A. Technology has been the key. Any business, both within the insurance industry and those in recruitment, that were quick to embrace home working, will have invested in their technology and built a solid but adaptable operational foundation enabling them to be in the best position as we move forward and overcome this difficult period. This necessary change to everyone’s way of working will only enhance the industry and allow for the flexibility that we have all gained during this time to stay.
I have spoken to many Chief Executives throughout the pandemic, and they have all mentioned that while the technology has always been there, Covid-19 has forced the industry to adopt, on mass, remote and digital ways of working. It has shown them that the technology does work and is here to stay, and this can only further drive the acceleration of technology across the industry in the future.
In terms of recruitment, the process has increased in pace considerably. A three-stage interview process, which originally could have taken three months, is now packed into one week! Interviews are held via video conferencing, and onboarding is remote and digital.
Q. If we go back to March 2020, there was a furlough scheme to navigate and numerous job losses; what did the insurance employment market look like ten months ago compared to today in January 2021?
A. From a recruitment perspective, everything stopped. Before the first national lockdown was put into place, we made the decision to close our offices and for all staff members to begin working from home. And then, the pause button was pressed. Apart from essential and key hires of senior and board level appointments, PSL recruitment froze.
The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the furlough system, was put into place, which for many businesses, allowed them to assess their position and work towards a new system that was combatable with the ongoing situation.
For us, that down period gave us the opportunity to assess our recruitment strategy and evaluate our technology. We investigated new systems, such as an online tracking system which is now free to both candidates and clients, and we examined our candidate and client processes. Having that time to focus on the business gave us a chance to get in front and put plans into place.
By June 2020, recruitment was growing again. And now, in January 2021, it’s business as usual! Many of our clients are back to full capacity and there are lots of opportunities available.
Q. Due to enforced remote working from the pandemic, talent pools have subsequently widened, enabling people from across the UK to apply for jobs not in their vicinity. What advantage has the widening of talent pools had for insurance businesses and their teams?
A. It has had a huge advantage and has been a bit of a game changer in all honesty. Those traditional views of working in the office from 9am till 5pm, have shifted, and both clients and candidates alike will benefit from that.
We recently did a piece of recruitment for a London market business who have a regional office in the South East, and they have just hired someone who lives in the East Midlands. Candidates are having opportunities that they never thought they would have, and clients are still hiring candidates that have just as many qualities and skills, but they just so happen to live a bit further away.
London has always been the holy grail for the insurance industry, but that mindset is changing. The whole of the UK is open to new opportunities and new ways of working.
Q. What does the entry route to the profession currently look like for those recently graduated or embarking on a new career path?
A. As a business we are working hard on this part of the market at the moment. We are close to completing a heavily subsidised qualification in insurance with the CII and ACII. We want to offer that qualification to entry-level, graduates, non-graduates, and school-leavers, to help them get their foot through the door and then support them through their career journey.
The more people we can get involved in the industry, the better. Diversity and inclusion at all levels is imperative for an innovative and customer-centric industry – by having a range of experiences, skills, and talents on your team, will only add to your team, client services, product, and overall business.
Q. Any advice for candidates looking for employment during this difficult time?
A. There are opportunities out there. Get excited about it because whatever your situation, your career continues. Make sure you’re up to date with the relevant software and get used to being online. Use an agency and build a rapport with your consultant. Have confidence in them because they are working for your best interests. And above all, communication and collaboration are crucial as we work together as an industry to overcome the challenges and changes, we are still yet to face.
Lawes Consulting Group, (CIR) Commercial Insurance Recruiter of the Year 2016 & 2019 WINNERS – one of London’s leading Insurance Recruitment Consultancy, through unprecedented growth and expansion we are now insurance market leaders encompassing divisions specialising in recruitment for the InsurTech Broking, Underwriting, Claims & Adjusters, Actuarial, Reinsurance and Risk & Compliance sectors.
Our trusted reputation within the industry has been built upon our ethos which is to provide a proficient, confidential service with loyalty and dedication to candidates and clients alike. We have partnerships with several small private brokers, major broking groups, international insurers, claims and adjusters, underwriting agencies, syndicates, MGAs, and many other companies operating within the Insurance, InsurTech, FinTech arena in London, the UK and Globally.
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