Insurance has always been a candidate short market.
But thanks to a global pandemic and hard border closures, hiring top candidates in the insurance industry is becoming even more difficult.
In fact, the recruitment difficulty rate in Australia has reached 68 per cent according to latest data found in the government's Labour Market Information Portal. This time last year, the rate was sitting at just under 40per cent.
While the 'Great Resignation' turned out to be something more like a 'Great Reshuffle', there’s no doubt job seekers’ priorities have changed post-COVID.
Those who are looking for a new position are not willing to compromise and hold their priorities in high regard.
Fuse Recruitment recently surveyed over 500 insurance professionals in Australia, across various classifications, including workers compensation, risk, underwriting, claims, brokerage, assessment and management.
The study found that not only have priorities changed, but there is now an emphasis on personal well-being.
The need for flexibility and the ability to work from home increased by 20 per cent post-COVID.
Working from home ranked 5th in order of importance when job seekers looked for a new role pre-covid.
In fact, over half of the respondents stated the importance of working from home as an eight or more on a scale of 1-10.
The pandemic highlighted that anything was possible if you chose to do it.
We had no choice but to work from home, and some people want it to be part of their everyday working life.
So much so that it is now one of the top three priorities along with salary and work-life balance.
To win talent over competitors, employers should keep in mind that we are no different from each other.
For example, a parent in the management team is no different from a parent in the admin team. Sure, priorities may be different, but both would appreciate spending time with their children and doing the school pick up.
Offering flexibility does not have to be entirely on the employee’s terms.
Speak to each candidate to determine how much flexibility they need or what arrangements would make their lives easier while still meeting your expectations of their performance and productivity.
Interestingly, entry-level employees were the least likely to turn down a role if it did not offer work from home flexibility.
Among senior-level employees, the top drivers when looking for a new role were management quality, culture and flexibility
Workplace culture can have profound effects on how enjoyable work is.
While many wish to work from home, most would like a hybrid working style, meaning workplace culture is still highly important.
For example, a recent report by Employment Hero highlights that Australian workers' top priority when seeking a new role is a job they enjoy or something they like doing.
Conversely, a negative culture can manifest gossiping, low employee engagement and higher absenteeism rates — all of which cause job dissatisfaction, high turnover, and low productivity.
When it comes to management quality, people want to be treated fairly and with compassion.
Remember when you were sick at your first job and your manager required a doctor’s certificate, a photo of you on your death bed and a message from your mother? We’re joking. But the point is people want to feel trusted and supported.
It can be hard to show trust and compassion to those not yet working for you, but it isn’t impossible.
Ensure you showcase your management style and personality during the recruitment process through your choice of language mannerism.
Your candidate is interviewing you just as much as you are them.
Impressing a new employee doesn’t stop when they’ve accepted the job offer.
Employees are by no means locked in their new roles and will not be afraid to leave if they want to. This leads us to our next point.
The confidence to leave
Over 50 per cent of insurance professionals said they would not be afraid to look for a new role post-COVID.
With a huge shift in employee priorities, Fuse was not surprised to see that people are not afraid to leave their roles.
During the pandemic, it seemed employers had the power.
Employees feared losing their jobs amidst unpredictable circumstances brought by COVID-19, and most chose to remain in their positions until they could see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Now that we have seen the worst of the pandemic and businesses have ramped up their hiring again, job seekers have multiple offers to choose from.
We’ve seen a significant increase in counteroffers over the past six months, some as high as 50 per cent.
Replacing a good employee can cost a lot more than a counteroffer, which is why they are common in a candidate short market.
'They’re offering me an additional 20k salary package,' says one insurance job seeker in the Fuse research.
Negotiating and increasing your contract offer beyond your company standard salary is not sustainable, however.
Using this strategy to attract candidates means you risk overpaying before they prove their worth. Instead of offering a higher salary, provide other avenues and benefits to help them reach their personal well-being goals.
To prevent losing your employees to your competitors, prioritise benefits regarding personal well-being. Whether mental, physical or emotional well-being, speak to your employees to understand what they want and need.
It could be an early start and finish to attend their kids’ soccer training, or they might want to work from home one day a week to spend more time with their newborn. Whatever it might be, consider your employees’ needs, or you risk losing them.
CSR — the lowest priority
Insurance job seekers’ lowest priorities in a new role are CSR, networking opportunities and additional benefits
If you’re not willing to adapt to the new market and cater to job seekers’ priorities, don’t expect much in return. Not all benefits are weighted equally, so some of your existing benefits may not be enticing anymore.
For example, the importance of job location dropped by 5 per cent post-COVID.
Here are some low-priority benefits to avoid putting a significant focus on when advertising new vacancies in your business:
- Fewer than one per cent of respondents selected CSR, networking opportunities or additional benefits as a priority when looking for a new role pre- and post-COVID
- 95 per cent of respondents did not consider company reputation as an attractive benefit of a new role
Job seekers’ priorities have shifted and, whether you’re hiring or not, it is in your best interest as an employer to consider those priorities.
There is still time to be included in ANZIIF’s Motivations and Expectations of Insurance Professionals in 2022 Survey and be in the draw to WIN one of two $200 AUD e-gift vouchers.
The survey closes Friday 8 July, so get in now.
This article first appeared on the Fuse Recruitment blog. It is reproduced here with permission.
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