The report ‘Talent in the London Market – Unique Advantage’ by the London Market Group and Deloitte, came out in 2016 just as I finished my first year working in the insurance industry.
Before my career change, I worked in IT and telecoms for a decade, serving multiple vertical industries, large-scale corporates, SMEs and consumers. Needless to say, I saw and helped drive a lot of transformation and technological change.
I’m also a millennial who operates at a senior management level, therefore I was interested in reading the talent survey and comparing notes on the key findings with my experience.
So, what is finding talent?
To me, finding talent is about finding and nurturing those people who operate well beyond their stated remit and constantly exercise a mindset that challenges and improves what the business is doing and how it is doing it.
They are smart, self-driven folks 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 way that’s very similar to their elders.
It’s no-one’s fault, just the circumstance of the surroundings. If most employees over 35 have been in the market for a long time, how do they know any different? I think we need to leverage the talent of those with the mindset to transform across all age groups — 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 marketplace.
The single biggest strength of out-of-industry hires is their new perspectives, even if it’s only a relevant recycled one from previous experience. Freedom of thought, coupled with a disruptive mindset, can lead organisations to think differently. Different is good by the way.
Another key strength of out-of-industry hires is how they rally for action. They do not give up their previous careers to become part of the furniture. They see opportunity, and they want to seize it.
Becoming a technology business
Insurance will become a technology business, just as technology is or will be embedded at the heart of every business. Whether you outsource your tech or invest in your own, you 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 (according to the report) will not exist in the future is by far the scariest thought facing the market. It is a basic human emotion 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?
To summarize, I think the London Market — and the industry as a whole — has an opportunity to leverage talent and ideas from outside the industry to better prepare for the technology-focused future. It will be people with new and different ways of thinking that bring about the modernization the industry needs.
Tom Bennett, operations and projects manager for Xchanging, a DXC Technology company.