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A Shift in the Recruitment Market

Steven Lawes of Lawes Consulting Group recounts the impact the last 18 months has had on the recruitment market, including the challenges and triumphs encountered throughout times of disruption.

Q. Insurance is cited as a resilient sector, how has the recruitment market adapted throughout the recent pandemic and shift to home or hybrid working?

The market reacted better than originally thought. Insurance is known for being behind the curve when it comes to technology and forward thinking, but companies (certainly the big ones) already had a plan in place. The smaller companies reacted similarly. Recruitment-wise, it was a bit of a fright for us, in all honesty, it felt like everybody pushed the pause button to see what was going to happen. We had a strange moment when we had our first candidate taken on by a client without having met them in person. That was the first time I’d ever seen that happen within insurance. I think everyone realised the world isn’t going to end – we still have a five-year plan, and we need to carry on.

We’re still setting up interviews daily for people via Teams and Zoom. I think everybody has become more comfortable with it. Although, building that culture and making sure the fit is correct for a new recruit is more difficult via the internet, but everyone has become more adapted to it. Overall, it’s been a good shift.

Q. Have you found, as many of us begin our return to the office, that candidates’ expectations have changed when exploring recruitment opportunities within insurance?

Absolutely! We have found candidates want more of a work-life balance. Clients were very pleased with the results from people working from home. So, generally, the expectations have changed. We’re also now having people work in one place but live in another, especially when you only have to go into the office once a month. It’s been a much wider market with a stronger focus on the quality of the individual.

Q. What successes can Lawes Group share on its own response to the last 18 months? Have there been any unexpected triumphs?

There was a bit of downtime when it all got completely shut down. We took that moment to reassess where we were. For us, it’s all about the candidate experience and the client’s experience, and this new technology that we’ve been working with has provided a much slicker process. I took some time to open up a new market for us in Bermuda. They’re strong in the insurance world, and I know somebody that works for a big insurer over that, and we used that as a pedestal to open up a new market. Recruitment is always so busy in insurance; you’re always looking forward. So, a small window of reflection for us has been excellent.

Q. Where do you see for the future of the insurance recruitment market in the next five years?

Almost everything you do at the moment is subscription-based. Netflix, Amazon, etc. We’re thinking of the possibility of having this kind of retained/subscription service. The way it would work is if your overall spend is ‘X’ each year, we will do it for ‘Y’ and you pay that monthly, and we’ll look after your recruitment needs for you as your RPO partner.

Q. Is it accurate to say that the recruitment market, despite the recent unforeseen challenges, is actually strengthened by unexpected circumstances?

The recruitment process is more dynamic. It’s quicker. During lockdown, and now, so many meetings are done via Zoom. For you and I to actually sit at a table together and do this interview, it would have taken weeks. We did it in two days. The senior individuals of companies now have much more time on their hands to do this kind of thing and get it done quickly. It has made the recruitment process much quicker. Also, the recruitment market is particularly buoyant at the moment, one of the most buoyant markets I have been involved in and that’s with 20+ years of experience.

Steven Lawes FIRP IOR | Chief Executive | Lawes Consulting Group

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