October 2022

Insurance Finance Recruitment - Quarter 3 review (London & South-East)

In what has been another volatile period for the UK, both politically and economically, the recruitment market within the insurance finance sector still feels very resilient. Whilst job numbers for WPR have dropped this quarter by 6% (this is following a record breaking Q2), they have bounced back very strongly in September, up significantly on the previous month.

As we move into the final quarter of the year, companies are gearing up for year-end reporting, and we are seeing clear trends in this direction. Unsurprisingly then, the majority of new roles released have been financial reporting focused, both perm and contract. Outside of this, as IFRS17 is nearing its deadline, there will be resource needed in the areas of technical accounting, data and process and controls improvements. The market continues to be ‘candidate driven’ and as a result, this presents ongoing challenges in finding good quality people to fill roles. It’s ever more important to understand the motivations behind a person’s desire to change role/ move. Looking beyond just the technical requirement of the role is essential. For example, if a candidate already has a skillset covering Solvency 2 and regulatory reporting, why would they move for a role with a similar focus? In these conditions, the relationship between hiring manager and consultant is extremely important. When clients make time to explain the story behind the role and what it can offer a candidate, this can be the difference between attracting a genuinely engaged candidate vs a passive one.

In summary, while the UK enters another turbulent period with very little projected economic growth, the recruitment market in the finance and insurance sectors remains buoyant with plenty of new roles on offer.

Commonly asked questions from candidates and clients?

What impact will the recent government announcement on IR35 changes have?

The changes to IR35 announced by the chancellor last week were comfortably the “bombshell” moment of the quarter. Businesses will revert back to the IR35 rules that were in place from 2001 until 2017 in the public sector and 2021 in the private sector. While the rules of IR35 are the same, what has changed is the determining of employment status moving away from clients and back to the contractor or limited company. It will be very interesting to see how clients apply the changes in Q2 next year. With the challenges of attracting talent, this could provide an opportunity for clients to steal a march on good candidates.

Is the market potentially levelling off?

We are not seeing any signs of insurance recruitment slowing down. There are so many large programmes to be delivered over the next few years (finance change, automation, data improvements) that we predict a very strong 2023 for further growth.

Will there be more senior permanent roles?

As we move further away from the pandemic, we are seeing clients plan further ahead and would expect more permanent roles to be hired for as a result. Over the last 12 months clients have had to act quickly and contractors provided the best route, whereas now there is more time to plan for the future.

Work from home / hybrid arrangements?

Whilst there is an appetite to get staff back into the office, we appear to have ended up on 2 or 3 days in the office, the remainder at home. Any more days expected in the office may present an issue with attracting a range of diverse candidates.

Have salaries risen? And if so, what areas have been most affected?

In short, yes. It feels there is a “sweet spot” with candidates from recently qualified accountants up to 3 - 4 years post qualified experience (PQE). The salary review period next year will also be a very interesting time to see how clients deal with requests. We will be taking a watching brief on all major taking points and will report our findings in the coming months.