Insurers are being challenged to offer new services and products to their customers, delivered in new ways. This is already having a significant impact on the make-up of IT departments, and is set to further ramp up in the months and years ahead.
Customer expectations are growing, and they’re looking for insurance providers who can deliver personalised, ultra-flexible services that perfectly align with their changing requirements. New technologies are required to enable insurers to deliver this level of service. Yet these can’t be developed in isolation and bolted onto existing IT systems as an afterthought. This would only lead to a tangled web that needs to be reverse engineered later. Instead, organisations need specialist technical skills – workers who can update legacy platforms, build new infrastructures, and seamlessly integrate new technologies into the wider IT infrastructure.
Yet individuals with these skills are in short supply, and high demand. In fact, our Talent Shortage Survey found that IT skills are amongst the hardest to find. A lack of applicants, lack of experience and a lack of hard skills are the key forces driving talent shortages around the world. Insurers might be ready to increase their IT investment to deliver next generation services to their customers – but the talent isn’t necessarily available to meet this demand. As a result, organisations must think more creatively than ever about how they find, attract and secure IT skills.
To win in the war for IT talent, organisations need a talent strategy that has four parts: build, buy, borrow and bridge. Build your talent pipeline, buy skills where necessary, borrow from external talent sources and bridge people with adjacent skills from one role to another to complement existing skills. Let’s review what each of these entails in practice:
Insurers can’t expect to find just-in-time IT specialists, even if they’re willing to pay a premium for them. There simply aren’t enough of them out there. Instead, they need to promote a culture of learning and focus on upskilling existing workers, so they can transition into emerging areas of IT development. Continuous learning is a two-way deal: it’s essential for individuals to make better career decisions, and it’s critical for companies to develop the talent they need. Better people analytics, psychometric assessment, predictive performance and AI mean employers can map and upskill their existing workforce like never before.
Since in-demand IT professionals are in such short supply, they can call the shots and ask insurers to pay more for their sought-after skills. In this tight labour market, 79% of employers plan to buy the skills they need, by paying higher market prices or improving compensation for existing staff. However, the challenge comes when those specialist skills are not available. Then the only option is to build.
Only 32% of organisations use alternative work models, even though 87% of workers say they are open to this NextGen work. IT departments tend to be more open than some sectors in embracing contractors, but permanent, full-time roles still dominate. Digitisation has created new ways of working and new generations of workers who are increasingly open to flexible work approaches. Insurers need to address any disconnect by being more open to offering alternative ways of working to attract, retain and motivate workers on alternative work models.
When the skill requirements of business changes, it’s likely that some people’s skills will no longer fit. If it’s no longer possible to place these workers into new roles inside the organisation, insurers need to treat workers fairly and ideally offer support to move on to new opportunities elsewhere if their skills are no longer required. Bridging requires tools including assessment, big data and predictive performance to define adjacent skills, identify strengths and help workers create clear career paths.
Changing customer expectations are transforming the IT skills requirements of insurers. But with the right resourcing strategy, organisations will be able to develop their technological capabilities and build organisational resilience. Employing the right combination of building, buying, borrowing and bridging talent will fuel future growth.
Learn more about how Experis, the professional resourcing arm of ManpowerGroup, can help you to transform your IT recruitment strategy, visit the Experis website.
This article is an extract from our guide The Future of Insurance Recruitment. To download the full guide, please click on the link below.