“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” ― Rumi
A common conversation I have, with candidates of all levels, is about how to change career path within the insurance industry. This could be a data scientist into management; an actuary moving from reserving to pricing; a broker becoming an underwriter; or a consultant moving into the company market; to name a few regular requests.
We all strive to challenge ourselves and life-long learning is important to all of us. I wanted to share some key considerations and pointers on how to approach such a change:
It can be easy to get carried away with the romantic ideas of a new career, without getting the full picture. Many roles may seem ‘sexy’ on the surface but as we know, all jobs have their challenges too.
I always think it’s best to ask yourself what a bad day would look like in a particular position and what the bulk of the role will be. For example, you may want to be a CRO, but that position comes with stringent regulatory pressures, and that may not meet your original expectations.
Networking with people in your chosen profession at market events or socials can bring out wider information. They could potentially introduce you to new people or sources of information.
Of course, you may think I am biased, but perhaps align yourself with a recruiter who can provide information on the market on a regular basis. This can also help you to identify what you need to do to make the switch.
Once you have discovered the role you want, it can be useful to gain relevant skills and experience. These could be extra-curricular such as taking data science courses, learning a coding language or taking leadership training.
It could be on the job, so taking on work from another area. For example, if you are a reserving actuary but would really like to move into pricing, can you build a relationship with an underwriter to support their activities or help with a pricing actuary’s workload?
If it’s a role that requires professional qualifications, can you get access to those in your current role?
There are generally opportunities to gain the experience needed within your current company, even if there isn’t a full-time opportunity open. Any exposure you can gain will put you in good stead to make the transition.
There is rarely a perfect situation when moving discipline or market and being flexible will help you to secure that position.
Examples of this could be a change in working patterns or taking reduced remuneration.
A common concession is taking on duties in a new role that aren’t quite what you want to do, but they are steppingstone. This allows you the opportunity to develop skills in a new area whilst adding value from the outset with your current skillset.
4. Give it a go!
If you have exhausted your opportunities internally and researched your new position well, but need to pursue a position externally to realise this, then my best advice is to give it a go!
There is a talent shortage in most areas of insurance and generally employers will be more flexible around experience than candidates believe. Just as a ‘perfect’ role may not exist, a ‘perfect’ candidate doesn’t either. There is always something to learn or develop in a new job and if there wasn’t, why would you want to do it anyway?!
This provides an opportunity at interview to talk about your transferrable skills. Also, you will have good motivations for wanting this new position, giving the client confidence that that there is longevity in hiring you.
Every situation is different to the next and these are just a few points to consider.
By Anthony Hill
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