Talent in the London Market
The recent report ‘Talent in the London Market – Unique Advantage’, published by the London Market Group and Deloitte has come along just as I conclude my first year working in the insurance market, having joined Xchanging, a CSC Company, in May 2015. I previously worked in IT & Telecoms for a decade serving multiple vertical industries, large scale corporates, SMEs, and consumers. Needless to say, there was a lot of transformation work and technological change.
I’m also a Millennial, who operates at senior management level. I was recruited as ’Talent’ from outside of the industry; therefore I was interested in reading the Talent survey and comparing notes on the key findings and my experience.
What is Talent?
To me, talent is about finding and nurturing those people who operate well beyond their stated remit and constantly exercise a mind-set which challenges and improves what the business is doing and how it is doing it. They are smart, self-driven folk who are capable of surpassing their boss and their boss’s boss. It’s just a question of if they want to and when. They are open minded, they learn, they bring fresh ideas, challenge the status quo and they collaborate. On top of this, they have the courage to speak up and the determination to knock down barriers.
So, in my time working in the insurance market, is the London Market short of talent? Yes.
Is the London Market short on diversity? Oh yes, but I’ll leave this subject for another blog.
The culture is very strong in the London Market and my experience so far suggests that the majority of young professionals think in a very similar way to their elders. It’s no-one’s fault, just the circumstance of their surroundings. Can we rely on the U35 community to help transform the London Market? If most have been in the market for their career so far, how do they know any different? What does good look like for a new world? I think we need to leverage the talent in all age groups that have the mind-set and ideas to transform, and that includes more hires from outside of the industry and working with relevant external Partners.
I have been advised and coached my entire career to think outside-in, placing yourself in your customers’ shoes. Given how well the London Market focuses on its clients, perhaps we could use this strength to encourage openness, ideas, and talent into our market place. The single biggest strength out of industry hires bring is a new perspective, even if only a relevant recycled one from previous experience. Irrespective, this freedom of thought coupled with a disruptive mind-set will lead organisations to think differently. Different is good by the way.
Another key strength about out of industry hires is that they rally for action. They have not given up their previous career to become part of the furniture. They see opportunity, and they want to seize it. How can 93% of survey respondents not see this opportunity as a priority! To me, it says ‘we’re fine as we are for now.’ We’ll see….
Insurance will become a technology business
This is true on the basis that technology will be embedded at the heart of every business. Whether you outsource your tech or invest in your own, you will need tech savvy staff to interpret the needs of your organisation and to help navigate the excess choice available in the market (which will only grow by the way).
The notion that perhaps only 20-30% of today’s current roles will exist in the future is by far the scariest thought facing the market. It is a basic human emotion for most to resist change and we need to overcome this fear in order to secure a successful future for the London market. How do you feel about needing to change? Up for it?
I hope this short view on talent has provoked some thought, and I really hope it may re-enforce or grow your desire to hire from the ‘outside’ in the near future.
By Tom Bennett, Operations & Projects manager, Xchanging, a CSC Company