Prospective recruits into Canada’s property and casualty insurance industry are willing to accept a lower salary from employers if it means they can work from home, one insurance recruiter observed during a Live with CU stream Thursday.
“To give you an example, there was a local company in Vancouver who hired one of our candidates as a senior marketer and they offered $10,000 less [in salary] for that person to be remote,” said Stefan Rolfe, associate director of insurance at Impact Recruitment.
“They ended up working in the office, but that’s a $10K difference to basically stay at home and work…rather than come to the office,” he said during How to win the war for talent, hosted via LinkedIn Live.
Rolfe said that for prospective P&C employees, a flexible work environment is table stakes.
“[For] 90% of them, [remote work] is a requirement, and they will often not hear out opportunities that do require five days a week in office, no matter what the company is,” Rolfe said. “We’ve seen it multiple times: candidates will tell us they’ll drop their salary expectations quite significantly — it’s quite a fair chunk of change — to have that flexibility to work remote.”
P&C employees clearly value saving time and money by forgoing a daily commute and buying take-out for lunch every day in the office. Especially in areas where traffic is dense, the commute can make or break a candidates’ in-office travel experience.
“I had students that were going from Brampton all the way to Oakville to [work for] one company,” John McNeil, program coordinator and full-time professor for the Insurance Management program at Humber College said. “It really comes down to personal choice for that student, for that individual, no matter where they are in their career.”
A Canadian Underwriter poll of 650 industry professionals in March 2022 found that nearly 89% of the industry offered some type of hybrid work arrangement, meaning employees can choose to work from home for at least one day a week. Seventy-one per cent reported being happy with their hybrid office arrangements, while only 11% were either dissatisfied or very dissatisfied.
Flexible work arrangements are the top non-wage priority for P&C candidates, according to the Insurance Institute of Canada’s Demographic Report 2022-2023.
Almost half (49%) of the Insurance Institute’s survey respondents said they would prefer to work remotely every day. The rest preferred some form of hybrid model. Nearly two-thirds of HR professionals said that the next two years will see an increased mix of hybrid work, per the report.
The P&C industry can do several things to strike a balance between in-office and remote work.
“We always advocate to [industry employers] that [they] should bring [their new recruits] in [to the office] within their probation period to get to know the processes, people, and the teams, and to gel with the management,” Rolfe said. “Then from there, have that flexibility afterwards to go and do maybe hybrid or fully remote.”
Offering hybrid work opportunities can facilitate employee relationships. “Employees definitely want remote work,” Brad Neal, vice president of business development and strategic partnerships at IIC observed.
“But…what we’re seeing is — and maybe it’s not surprising after two years of COVID — people want to have a great relationship with their manager and with their coworkers,” he said.
“They want access to education, mental health and well-being [resources] so they can promote their own careers. But they also want to feel like they’re part of something, versus just having a job. We see that people do feel very connected with the success of their employers.”
Having flexible in-office arrangements is crucial for new graduates especially, suggested McNeil.
“Many of the graduates over the last two-to-three years were learning online for a whole year,” he said. “It was quite an interesting experience.”
Inviting students to the office for field trips or tours can be a huge learning opportunity, McNeil said. It can also encourage students to take interest in the company.
“Many students look specifically for remote [work],” he said. “Some want to come into the office. And some like that flexibility. I’ve seen it across the board.”
Feature image by iStock.com/SvetaZi