The job-hopping headache for insurance firms in London

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Insurance firms are facing a skills shortage, but they’re still incredibly choosy about the people they decide to take on. The latest thing turning off recruiters is the short period of time candidates are spending with their current employer – basically, firms hate a new emerging job-hopping trend.

Recruiters are being faced with candidates who are switching jobs every couple of years, or even less, and this seeming lack of commitment is raising some alarm bells in the HR teams of insurance firms.

As Jan Homewood, HR manager at Crispin Spears told and Insurance Times recruitment roundtable recently: “All the candidates that we are seeing have had lots of jobs; too many jobs.”

This is largely in the general insurance industry, particularly London, rather than the life space, suggest recruiters and is in part down to the increased levels of poaching – a phenomenon that has only really taken off in the last couple of years.

“The fact is that the insurance market is crying out for certain skill-sets, particularly risk and actuarial, and there are not enough people on the market,” says Mark Dainty, director of insurance-focused recruiters High Finance Group. “You can pin this on Solvency II, which has created more poaching and high salary inflation. Some people may only have been at a company for 11 months and they’re being offered a £20k pay rise to switch jobs again.”

While on the one hand insurance firms are actively targeting candidates for hard-to-find skill-sets, they’re also concerned about the churn in lowly-paid administrative functions.

“If you’re junior and work in claims, for example, then it’s very tempting to move employers for a small uplift in salary and a promotional opportunity,” says Matthew Jaquiss, CEO of recruiters Darwin Rhodes. “Retention in these positions is a key concern for insurers currently.”

Recruiters are at least becoming more sceptical about those with too many short-term jobs on their CV and probing questions are being asked.

“Justifiable reasons for moving are things like a new boss coming in and changing the structure of the team or changing a job role pushes the candidate in a direction they don’t want,” says Dainty. “However, vague answers are being probed more deeply, and very often it emerges that someone had taken on a job that was too big for them, or are not well-suited to the areas they’ve been working in.”

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