Hong Kong’s insurance market is steady, with employers recruiting to replace departing staff rather than creating new roles. Employers continue to recruit on a permanent basis in core functions of the insurance industry such as business development, underwriting, risk and actuarial. Temporary assignments are offered for less technical functions such as general administration.
In terms of skills in demand for the July to September quarter, we’re seeing high demand for Compliance Managers. Insurers best equipped to manage regulatory challenges will benefit from potentially significant sales increases. Consequently, compliance experts are still in high demand, especially those with knowledge of global and local regulations. Specialised compliance roles are being created to tackle the increasing complexities in the regulatory landscape. This includes regulatory and general compliance from anti-money laundering, data privacy, regulated cross border sales, proper product sales, distributor disclosures and marketing materials. All in all, compliance standards need to be heightened to meet the regulator’s requirements and emerging regulations, as well as to avoid reputational, investment and enterprise-wide risk.
Channel Development Managers are also sought. Key insurance companies are looking to win market share in the IFA industry. Employers are therefore adding headcount to their partnership distribution team in order to develop strategic partnerships with IFA businesses.
Actuaries are needed too. In most demand are mid-level managers. In order to strengthen and further enhance their actuarial department, employers want candidates with strong actuarial knowledge and relevant qualifications. In addition, some insurers have started to implement IFRS 4 Phase II, which is proposed to be effective in 2020. We expect that candidates who have experience and knowledge of IFRS 4 Phase II will be in high demand.
Client Servicing Representatives are in growing demand as many insurance organisations invest in strengthening the quality of their customer service teams. As a result, there is a higher expectation for client servicing professionals to have both technical and soft skills. Moreover, candidates with great communication skills in Mandarin are extremely valuable due to expansions into the China market.
Risk Managers are needed too. Insurers that are committed to growth are aware that risk management needs reinforcement. This may include operational risk, financial crime, information security, fraud, credit, insurance, market and reputational risk. With the demand in risk creating greater skills gaps in the local market, employers are attracting returners to Hong Kong who have experience implementing advanced risk management frameworks. Employers are also looking to develop audit, controls and governance professionals into risk roles. For those who value interacting closely with senior management and the business, this will be an opportunity not to miss.
Candidates have been more selective in terms of their employer of choice. There has been a greater focus on finding companies that can provide work-life balance. Work location has also been highlighted as a number of major insurers have relocated recently, and candidates are seeking to reduce their commute to work.