The landscape of the UK life insurance industry has experienced quite a lot of change over the last few years, in particular recently, in terms of companies competing within the space.
We have seen the withdrawal of MetLife, from the UK space, whilst Prudential have made a tactical retreat out of the UK annuities market (recently selling their annuity book to Rothesay Life) and are splitting their UK business from the larger Group Head Office business. Standard Life who were also a major player within the UK market have essentially sold their insurance offerings, in order to focus upon becoming solely an investment firm, following their merger with Aberdeen Asset Management
"There's been a huge amount of consolidation in the UK life insurance industry, so with Canada Life acquiring Retirement Advantage, Just Retirement merging together with Partnership (forming Just!), Aviva previously buying Friends Life, this trend is continuing. All of these big events have sought to make the volumes of firms operating within the UK industry a lot smaller, which has somewhat changed the dynamics of the job market. Whilst actuaries have historically been at a premium, and so almost being able to pick and choose where they went, but as there are lot less major employers than there were years ago, the landscape for job seekers is a lot more competitive.
Due to these changes, it's important that candidates realise that in order to maximize their long-term prospects they should be a lot more open-minded to, and receptive to, hearing about the jobs available, given that the volume of options may have been diminished compared to yester-year.
Long gone are the days when people progressed from graduation to retirement within one company, and unfortunately holding onto this notion may hinder professional development.
Despite this, there are still good opportunities coming up, due to further changes in the industry. In order to get ahead as an actuary in your career, it's more important than ever that you are more aware of what is going on externally, than in the past. Regulations are changing, in terms of accounting standards, with IFRS17 currently the hot topic in the sector. Solvency II is increasingly becoming business as usual for insurance companies although the need to improve and innovate risk management frameworks and to optimise capital remains a paramount challenge. These are all things itís important to know, in order to stay ahead of the game.
It's clear from the strategic withdrawal of certain companies from the UK life insurance space that we must expect the landscape to keep changing in the coming years. With that in mind it is very worthwhile to think ahead and to keep an ear to the ground as to the external job market so as to ensure that you are positioned in the best possible place for you to achieve your career potential even if all seems to be rosy at this moment in time!
You don't have to be unhappy to be a passive jobseeker, so donít wait for necessity! Instead be proactive, and most importantly, be ready for what the future might bring.
If you would be interested in speaking about your situation or the wider job market please contact me for a discreet chat. With 13 years of recruitment experience, including the last 7 of those leading Goodman Massonís actuarial life insurance practice, I am hopefully very well placed to help you, should the need ever arise to look around.