The CII is set to unveil its talent initiative this week in a bid to tackle the insurance industry's growing skills crisis.

The launch at the annual UK Insurance and Financial Services conference will see a package of measures aimed at attracting young school leavers and graduates into the market.

The aim is to raise the number of postgraduates looking for a career in insurance from 10% to 30% within five years.

The initiative will involve a range of projects targeted at giving young people information that will provide a more positive image of the industry.

A new website is to be launched where potential employees can learn about the industry and look for insurance jobs. There will also be a number of brochures sent to careers advisers across the UK explaining how insurance can be connected to everyday life.

Meanwhile the CII will visit undergraduate careers fairs at six major universities in the coming months in an attempt to buoy enthusiasm. It will also launch a campaign in the student press to challenge misconceptions surrounding the industry.

"We are entering the second phase of the project by getting out to schools and colleges," said Steve Wellard, director of communications for the CII. "We are talking to careers officers about challenging the standard perceptions."

The CII admits it could be years before the results of the project are felt on office floors. Concerns have also been voiced that the insurance industry is unable to compete with the huge sums of money that are spent by the banking and accounting sectors on recruitment.

One CII insider said: "We are competing against multi-national companies that have seven-figure sums ready to spend on recruitment."

Wellard responded: "We are there to act as a facilitator and champions of the industry, and to raise its profile. Insurers such as Allianz Cornhill and Royal & SunAlliance have made a commitment which we believe should be self perpetuating."

François-Xavier Boisseau, managing director for Groupama, who has been involved with the CII's talent taskforce working group welcomed the initiative.

He said: "The insurance industry is becoming more and more sophisticated and the quality of people we employ is one of the key factors in determining our success. These days it is not just about how motivated employees are but how well educated they are too. Having highly skilled people is crucial."

CII survey results
A recent CII survey on recruitment found:

  • 90% of students would not consider a career in insurance
  • 75% of employers fail to attract the talent they are looking for
  • Only 4% of students interviewed ranked insurance as the most attractive career option when compared with banking, consultancy and accounting.