’What we really want is the right skillset, work ethic and a growth mindset,’ says chief executive officer

Graduates and young people don’t necessarily think of insurance as a potential career when considering their options, but the insurance sector can change that by offering “fantastic opportunities” and talking about the “critical role” insurance plays in our society and economy.

That was according to Tim Baliey, Zurich’s chief executive officer, who told Insurance Times that a key challenge for the industry when acquiring talent was that there is a “misconception” that “that graduates need specific degrees or to have graduated from what is considered a top university”.

“What we really want is the right skillset, work ethic and a growth mindset,” he explained.

Bailey himself began his career in the insurance sector in 1998 with Zurich’s graduate scheme and has since risen through the ranks to become chief executive. 

Commenting on his experience, he said that the graduate scheme provided “fantastic opportunities” and a “great grounding in the insurance sector”. 

He added: “Since then, I’ve been lucky enough to have fantastic opportunities working here in the UK and across various parts of the world, including Switzerland and Australia.

“What stands out for me is the opportunities graduates can achieve if they work hard and the support and mentorship that goes along with that.

“I’m really looking forward to working with the graduates that join us this year and seeing where their career pathways lead them in Zurich.”

Zurich’s offer

Bailey’s comments followed after Zurich UK yesterday (4 September 2023) announced the expansion its graduate program to provide additional opportunities for recent graduates.

Tim Baikey Zurich

Tim Bailey, Zurich chief executive

Michelle Ransome, Zurich’s talent acquisition manager, added: “This year we are increasing our graduate intake with an additional two placements available, allowing us to nurture the next generation of talent within our business.

“We really walk the walk at Zurich when it comes to graduates – a number of our UK executive committee members started on the scheme, including our UK chief executive officer Tim Bailey.”

Meanwhile, the insurer is looking to increase the volume of its available internship opportunities in 2024 by taking on an additional 26 individuals.

Zurick UK explained that approximately 82% of last year’s interns were extended job offers to join the insurer’s graduate program after successfully completing the 10-week internship.

Applications to the Zurich schemes will open from the 11 September for both graduate and internships. The application deadline has been extended to 5 November to allow more time for candidates to apply.