The state of Singapore's insurance sector remains a topic of interest and scrutiny in 2023. While the industry continues to evolve in response to changing customer demands in healthcare, data risk, and digital technology, one issue remains constant: the chronic shortage of talent.

In today's highly competitive talent landscape, insurance companies in Singapore are not only competing with each other for top talent, but also with companies across different industries. This makes it more important to develop targeted recruitment strategies to attract the talent you want. 

insurance hiring trends and challenges
insurance hiring trends and challenges

To understand your hiring challenges and how to overcome them, we must first understand how the talent landscape in the insurance industry has changed. 

job trends that are reshaping singapore’s insurance industry

1. IFRS 17 implementation requires talent to support improvements and maintenance

The much-awaited IFRS17 implementation to replace IFRS4 took effect in January 2023, but the work doesn't end there. Like all transition projects, it requires insurance companies to continuously fine-tune their internal processes and reporting even after the implementation.

To ensure a smooth transition from IFRS4, insurance companies in Singapore are hiring additional staff to support the implementation of IFRS17. They are also extending the contracts of key employees who played a crucial role in the implementation of IFRS17, to retain their knowledge and expertise for future reporting improvement and maintenance.

Even after all companies have adopted the new standards, finance professionals who played a significant role in the implementation of IFRS17 will continue to be in demand to ensure compliance and maintain bookkeeping standards. 

2. capturing opportunities to expand in the region: talent demand for mergers and acquisitions talent

As insurance companies assess their expansion plans and strategies in the region, the need for mergers and acquisitions talent in corporate development functions has increased. Candidates with expertise in financial modelling, corporate development, investment banking as well as managing projects from both the buy and sell side have an advantage. 

Professionals with understanding or appreciation of the insurance industry and experience in regional projects are also highly sought after.

3. urgent demand for underwriters to insure against cybercrimes

The rise of data collection and management has increased the vulnerability of cybercrimes and risk exposure for companies. This challenge is especially true for technology firms and financial institutions, which are most at risk for cyberattacks due to the value of data they handle and exchange constantly.

underwriters in demand
underwriters in demand

As a result, there is now a growing demand for underwriters to help companies insure themselves against unprotected data risks and cyber attacks. However, there is a limited talent pool of skilled individuals in this domain, which makes it challenging for companies to hire and train a competent workforce to meet the rising demand.

Besides looking for higher pay, underwriters seek to take on regional responsibilities and bigger portfolios so that they can deepen their capabilities.

4. emerging talent demand for customised healthcare insurance

Insurance firms are working with healthcare ecosystem partners to improve health outcomes and better serve the population’s needs. 

Insurance firms are building a workforce to develop new products and services to meet customer needs. In-demand talent that they often look to hire includes data modellers, data engineers and product managers who have experience in healthcare and health technology services.

Actuaries with work experience in the pricing strategy of local and international health insurance products will also continue to be in demand with insurance firms. 

5. the quest for “master of all trades” in risk and compliance

Companies are looking for the “master of all trades” in risk and compliance. Such widely skilled talent who has deep specialist competencies and technology capabilities not only drives higher productivity with lower costs, but it also enables companies to combine roles and streamline their hiring process. However, finding such a candidate can be a challenge.

There have been a growing number of employers looking for talent with both risk management and compliance capabilities. Some of the experience that they look for in candidates are their familiarity with operational risk assessment, own risk and solvency assessments (ORSA), regulator liaison and interpretation of new guidelines to support the business. 

There is also a hiring preference for talent with good interpersonal and communication skills as risk and compliance professionals are now expected to play their role as business partners, and not just as governors. 

how to overcome 3 hiring challenges in the insurance industry

Based on the latest talent market movements and our recent interactions with job candidates and employers, we have observed three key hiring challenges that employers will need to overcome in the insurance industry.

1. manage your expectations when looking for expandable specialised talent

In Singapore, finding specialists with niche skills in a specific field can already be challenging and expecting them to have expandable expertise in a related specialisation could be nearly impossible.

Many employees may not have the opportunity to enhance their skills throughout their career due to their overwhelming workload or the way companies structure their business and reporting lines.

Offering learning opportunities to employees can help close the skills gap. Hiring someone who is willing to learn and grow can be very valuable to the company. In the short term, the new hire can help existing employees share the workload and create a healthier work-life environment.

In the long run, investing in learning and development for employees to expand their scope and train them for new roles can make them feel more valued and fulfilled, knowing that they are able to achieve more in a supportive environment.

2. revise your salary structure to meet new salary expectations

According to the Joint Autonomous Universities Graduate Employment Survey 2022, fresh graduates from business programmes in full-time permanent jobs have seen a significant increase in median gross monthly salary, rising from $3,500 in 2020 to $4,210 in 2022, a 20% jump in just 2 years.

However, this increase in starting salaries is creating a mismatch between the expectations of new hires and those of existing employees.

For example, if a fresh graduate from 2020 receives an average of 5% salary increment each year, their estimated salary by 2023 would be $3,900, which is much lower than the expected $4,210 for new hires in 2022. This discrepancy in internal pay equity could lead to existing employees feeling undervalued and seeking higher salaries elsewhere to make up for the difference.

revise salary structure to attract talent
revise salary structure to attract talent

It is hence pertinent for companies to revise their internal salary structure to keep up with current market demands. Although this will increase your overall workforce expenses, it can make it easier for you to recruit and retain top talent to ensure business continuity and position the company as an attractive employer to skilled talent.

Hiring managers can work with recruitment agencies like Randstad for the latest hiring, industry and salary data and insights. Having access to these workforce insights can help the company evaluate if they are lagging behind their competitors in the industry, and make necessary changes to continue to attract and retain the best talent.

3. foster a supportive work environment for better work-life balance

Revising an organisation’s salary structure is a time-consuming and costly process that requires extensive research, analysis and negotiations with key stakeholders. Even after doing all of that, budgetary constraints may limit significant increases to protect the bottom line.

This is where hiring managers can work with their human resources business partners to exercise more flexibility to increase employee satisfaction in a more cost-effective way, such as promoting a healthy work-life balance.

The 2022 Randstad Singapore’s Talent Expectations Survey found that the top 3 situations that led to poor work-life balance in Singapore are:

1. an overwhelming workload
2. unnecessary or excessive overtime
3. an unreasonable boss and unsupportive colleagues

The study also highlighted that the top reason why people dislike working from home is having to work overtime because their bosses and colleagues are sending emails and text messages at night and on weekends.

Working from home is no longer seen as an employee benefit, but a standard work arrangement.

However, the remote work environment has created a culture where employees are expected to be on their devices all the time, leading to the sacrifice of our rest time. Employers can set an example for the rest of their workforce by scheduling non-urgent work emails for the next day instead of sending them on the weekends, leaving the office on time, and implementing a no-meeting day every week so that employees have time to focus on completing their tasks.

Employers can also work with their learning and development teams to create training programmes to improve communication within the organisation. These programmes can teach employees to write concise emails and messages with clear instructions and feedback, as well as improve their management styles to be more direct and consultative to reduce confusion and second-guessing within the organisation.

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randstad - your partner for talent insights and recruitment

At Randstad, our teams are built to cover specific careers and specialisations so that we can service you better with industry key trends and insights that matter to you. Within the insurance sector, we offer recruitment consultation and services for actuarial, compliance and risk, audit, finance and accounting, sales and distribution, product development claims, underwriting and operations.

Whether you’re hiring or not, reach out to us to connect. We regularly interact with our talent to have a deeper understanding of their expertise, skills capabilities and salary expectations, so that we can provide you the right person who fits your organisation.

If you are a job seeker considering a career change, the insurance industry presents promising growth opportunities. Discover the latest insurance jobs in Singapore and submit your application today.

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