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Skills shortage puts mounting pressure on industry to offer better perks, pay

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The long-running shortage of skilled professionals such as commercial claims consultants and cyber underwriters means the insurance industry will likely have to be prepared to pay more to fill the vacancies, according to recruitment group Hays.

Hays says the industry will remain an “active job market” over the next 12 months with high demand for professionals with specialist knowledge.

“While salaries were fairly stable over the past 12 months, as we now look ahead to the next 12 months, the demand for skills will see salary pressure mount as employers look to secure top talent,” Hays Insurance Regional Director Carl Piesse told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“Benefits, too, will need to be reviewed as employers look to attract candidates with a complete package.

“The jobs market will remain active, so it really is the rising demand for skills that will lead to this salary pressure.”

Hays warned as far back as 2016 that the industry was facing a shortage of skilled executives and will have trouble filling vacancies.

The latest salary guide released last week from Hays says cyber underwriters and cyber claims consultants are in greatest demand and insurers are finding it hard to fill vacancies because cyber is still a “reasonably new” product.

Prospective employers want cyber specialists who have the experience to help expand and support growing demand for digital products.

Also in demand are professional indemnity and liability claims candidates at the consultant and manager level with relevant experience. They are in short supply, due partly to an increasing number of claims.

Demand for commercial claims consultants has outstripped the supply pool too as the industry seeks to cope with increased business-related claims.

Hays says the guide has revealed a “salary expectation divide” between employers and staff.

About 76% of insurance employers plan to raise salaries in their next review. This is up from 49% who did so at the last review.

However only 5% of the close to 3500 organisations say they will raise wages by 3% or higher. About 71% say they intend to only increase salaries by 3% or less.

Insurance professionals think otherwise. About 73% say a raise of 3% or more would better reflect their individual performance.

Some 81% are currently looking for a new job, plan to look or are open to new opportunities in the next 12 months. They say an uncompetitive salary, lack of promotional opportunities and concerns about job security are the main drivers.

Click here to access the Hays salary guide.