Jon Sharpe, Meera Joshi and Liam Garton Financial Services, insurance, Technology...
Across the last quarter the permanent market has seen increased growth within certain job families whilst also experiencing difficulty due to underwriting losses of 2017. Financial pressures have led to some cutting all non-regulatory change to a minimum, whilst others are pioneering efforts in innovation. As ever though, good talent is being sought across the market however current employers are not letting them go easily, with an increase in buy backs and counter offers.
The digital and innovation drive
This digital or innovation drive is being propelled by several motivators (not limited to); an outdated technology landscape (with some applications no longer being supported) as well as the drive to grow markets and increase underwriting and broking profits whilst also preparing for the unknown trading environment of the future. It is well known that the technology stack used in the London Market is somewhat behind the banking world and even further behind other industries. Along with PPL and the wider Lloyd’s TOM, the London Market has seen increased efforts to prepare itself not just for “e-trading”, but the digitisation of all facets of the business. Brokers and Underwriters alike are exploring innovation techniques that can lead to increased service levels for customers, low operating costs and reach new markets. The challenge we are seeing here is finding talent that can break the norm within the market, whilst also winning over the purists within the market. Some of these innovations have included; digital trading portals, automation of claims handling and payments and as far as the introduction of AI that can price risks real time with live claims and other data.
In addition to innovation and digitisation, we are seeing a continued drive of operational excellence. In some ways this is linked to the innovation movement with programmes such as RPA (Robotic Process Automation) but it is also a general drive by the market to reduce waste and improve operating processes. We have seen increased need for process improvement and Six Sigma specialists.
Brexit has not only been the hot topic over the last year but will continue to be the topic of discussion for many years to come. As many of you may be feeling the negative impacts of Brexit, we within the change world are seeing the opportunity. As I follow the journey of Brexit with my insurance clients I have seen the skillset requirements change and can see this being the case for any opportunities that arise over the next quarter. The first challenge for my clients was deciding where to set up and so came the requirements for legal and reg M&A Project Managers. Lloyd’s decided on Brussels, Hiscox decided on Luxembourg and most recently AIG have announced they will be setting up in Luxembourg too. Now that the location is settled, the next challenge is operations – this is where I see the next quarter’s opportunities coming from. This will include everything from IT operations, Operations Strategy, People, HR, Process and will require project managers who have worked on operational change projects especially where it has included European change. The ambiguity surrounding Brexit also calls for certain soft skills such as the ability to be versatile and flexible in the way you deliver projects as well as ability to communicate effectively upwards and downwards as things in the political landscape changes.
BI Development -
Towards the end of 2017 speaking with clients and candidates there were emerging trends in the market to look out for in 2018. The main trend I have seen within Q1 of 2018 is the request from both client and candidates for roles to have a more hybrid approach in terms of mixing what would usually be seperate roles into one. More specifically in BI:
The idea of this is that the BI tasks are fulfilled by the business users themselves, rather than these tasks being sent to central IT. What this means is a decentralisation of BI within an organisation giving it more flexibility and freedom whilst increasing efficiency and driving down costs. What this means for the contract market is that we would hope to see more candidates upskilling and becoming hybrid within their roles.
The type of skillset in the current market is split into three main areas:
Many BI users have a casual skillset so can work with basic requirements, for example analysis and working with dashboards. This makes up about 70% of BI users and would be sufficient in some roles for the clients requirements.
More experienced BI users make up around 25% of the market and these users typically have a full flexible range of experience and understanding and can use BI functionalities for their daily work with data to answer their business problems.
This leaves a small percentage of users with the most advanced BI skills and therefore are in a higher demand. Their skillset would require data exploration, modelling and a bit more of a sandbox environment.
These skillsets mixed with roles such as project management and business analysts would spark questions such as how much is a hybrid candidate worth? Does the market rate reflect each bracket of skillset? Does the rate along with possible opportunities make it worthwhile to upskill?
Looking ahead to Q2
One thing to reflect on Q1 would be that we are seeing more roles with a Hybrid side coming through and seeing candidates with a broad range of skills suited to this new trend. Looking to Q2 I expect this to continue to grow.
Another emerging trend, especially in BI, is Data Visualisation, and more specifically Power BI. Speaking with candidates, they are most becoming more highly skilled in tools such as Power BI in anticipation and we have already seen on the market certain pilot projects within Power BI being launched within our clients. Its always tough to visualise the future, but Data Visualisation is definitely an emerging business objective.