Competition for available qualified underwriting talent is fierce.
“We’ve got candidates in the mix that will often have two or three offers in hand,” said Stefan Rolfe, associate director of insurance at Impact Recruitment. “And they can often bounce one off another.”
That puts the ball in the candidate’s court. If underwriting firms want to be on the offensive, they’ll have to be creative.
“You’re seeing companies now that are trying to make an insurance job sexier and highlighting the benefits of it being really, really safe to join the insurance industry,” Rolfe said. “It’s that job security factor, and companies are trying to highlight that on a longer widespread level to get junior-level employees in the door to future-proof the industry.”
Some businesses have responded to the increased competition for candidates by raising salaries.
A recent Insurance Institute of Canada research study included an online survey of more than 4,700 Canadian P&C industry employees. That survey estimated the average annual salary in the industry grew by 15.6% over the past six years and now sits at $83,275, well above the Canadian average of $54,450.
“For some reason, companies are more willing to give more in salary and still have [employees] in the office,” Rolfe said. “However, we’re seeing that candidates actually would rather take less pay to be hybrid or fully remote, because it saves them the commute time, transportation costs, packed lunches, and everything else that comes with physically going into the office.”
Given the current intensity of the war for talent, companies must constantly be recruiting, especially for more specialized positions, said Wes Gray, associate vice president of commercial solutions for Sovereign General Insurance’s eastern region.
That’s especially true as senior leaders continue to retire because it creates an urgent need for commercial underwriters who can hit the ground running.
“You can’t just [say], ‘We’re down an underwriter today, we’re going to put an ad out tomorrow on LinkedIn and…all these great people are going to come flocking in. That is not the case.
“Talented people don’t become available on our timeline,” he said. “It’s [about] developing [the] pipeline.”
This story is excerpted from one that appeared in the October print edition of Canadian Underwriter. Feature image by iStock.com/rudall30