As a recruiter within the London insurance market, I have gained a unique perspective from both clients looking to hire and retain staff and candidates looking for work in the Lloyd’s market.

It’s no secret that the Lloyd’s market is a traditional industry, steeped with heritage and built upon a foundation of values drawn up in the Coffee Shop all those years ago. It has grown into a unique marketplace, there is nothing quite like it in the world, and is now a substantial part of the UK’s GDP and status in the world economy.

However, the pace of technological change globally, particularly in the UK, and the so-called “War for Talent” presents new challenges for the Lloyd’s market. Personally, I don’t know a huge amount about Technology (currently struggling to get Microsoft Word to work properly) so in this post I’ll put pen to paper about my thoughts on Talent Acquisition, and how Technology change and traditional mindsets are providing a big challenge for hiring managers and job-seekers within the Lloyd’s ecosystem.

Technology has become increasingly important within businesses (think Netflix vs Blockbuster, Uber vs black cabs etc). It requires knowledgeable staff within any business; to bring it in in the first place, to bed it into the hearts and minds of the business, and to keep it operational. The demand for specialists in niche areas of Technology in the UK is high, with people at the forefront of these IT disciplines being highly sought-after. There are hundreds of blogs/posts/articles written every day on how organisations can position themselves to attract and retain this talent, with companies often spending hundreds of thousands on recruitment fees, internal Talent Acquisition functions and branding specialists.

Whenever we are approached by a client for a requirement, regardless of the position or the technology, one of the first questions we ask when taking down the Job Spec is “does this position require previous London market domain knowledge?” and the answer is almost always a resounding yes. To an extent this makes sense, particularly with contracting hires, to select candidates who already have good knowledge of the underlying data or the specific keywords and processes. It can be quite complex, and if you’re hiring in new people, especially if you’re paying £3000-£4000 a week, then surely it makes sense to on-board people who completely fit the job description. Certainly, in terms of training and integration, it minimises the amount of downtime you get with any new hire.

However, this has inadvertently caused a ring-fenced talent pool in which a majority of the Technology staff in the London insurance market, both contract and permanent, tend to cycle round the same organisations working on similar projects. This can be a good thing, in terms of off-the-record references and bedding people in to roles quickly, but I get the feeling that by continuing this practice, London market companies are massively restricting their ability to bring in new ideas and utilise new technologies to the fullest extent.

New blood to the market can be quite scarce, with a lot of hiring managers being nervous about hiring people from other sectors. Particularly when delivering new technology change, surely, it’d be worth taking a chance on someone who’s been a Cyber Security practitioner within an Investment Bank? Or a Big Data architect who has just finished delivering a successful system for a Retail business?

Other industries are more cutting-edge when it comes to Technology. Are London market businesses missing a trick when it comes to spreading the net whilst hiring?

Where do you feel would be a good first step for an expanded search?