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Hayne sparks demand for specialists, but salary war looms

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Insurance professionals with niche skills in areas such as handling complex claims, risk and compliance can command higher salaries as the industry gears up to comply with the reforms tabled by the Hayne royal commission, recruiter Hays says today.

Professionals with experience in underwriting and analytics can also expect better remuneration in the next financial year.

“One of the drivers of change is the [Hayne] royal commission,” the Hays 2019/20 salary guide report says.

“Its impact is being felt across the industry and [the] list of recommended changes, designed to bring life and general insurance in line with the more heavily regulated financial services sector, could lead to further new job opportunities as organisations prepare for possible reforms.

“As a result, we expect to see increased demand within risk and compliance, underwriting, analytics and claims.”

Hays interviewed more than 3400 companies and 1600 professionals across a range of industries in Australia and New Zealand to compile the 2019/20 salary guide.

It finds salaries for property and motor assessing professionals are set to rise because of a peak in requirements.

But the outlook is less sanguine for the rest of the industry. While insurers and other financial services employers have plans to increase salaries, the rises they are planning are far lower than what most employees are hoping for.

More than 50% view a salary increase as their number one career priority for the year, and 22% expect a raise of at least 6% or more.

But only 4% of employers are planning such increases, while 63% plan to raise salaries 3% or less.

Some 31% of workers in the sector expect their pay to go up by that level at the next salary review.

“We’re now seeing a tug of war over salaries,” Hays Regional Director Insurance Carl Piesse said.

“On the one hand we have professionals telling us they’ve prioritised a pay rise and are prepared to enter the job market to improve their earnings.

“On the other, employers tell us they want to add to their headcount and are being impacted by skill shortages. Yet they plan to curtail salary increases.”