CII public affairs manager Daniel Pedley discusses the latest CII insurance industry skills survey – and the results are not good reading

This year’s CII membership skills survey can be set against one of the most significant skills policy decisions in recent times. Although details of the government’s new apprenticeship levy were not known at the time of the survey, the results can act as a key reference point of the impact of the decision.

The introduction of the levy is being driven by worries over skills gaps and productivity levels, and our skills survey once again provides an insight into the position across insurance. In line with the general UK picture, the mood music is not good.

Reported skills shortages were at their lowest two years ago (59%) but since then we have seen a worryingly rapid increase. Today, four in five employers (81%) tell us they are suffering a skills shortage, a six percentage point jump on last year. Almost one-quarter of employers say that their ability to innovate and grow will be diminished as a result of these shortages. Add to this the one-fifth of employers who worry that service quality might fall and you have some cause for concern.

Skills shortages are beginning to impact on attitudes towards UK insurance’s ability to compete globally. Although positivity remains high with more than two-thirds believing the sector is well placed to take on the world, this year’s survey has identified a dip. This is something to keep an eye on.

It is important that we do not just accept our fate and sleepwalk into a talent crisis. The signs are that employers are taking action. We’ve seen an 11 percentage point rise in employers raising training budgets – almost half expect to do so next year (48%). In addition, 55% of firms say they plan to increase headcount over the same period. And they are drawing talent from an ever-widening pool, including return to work parents, recently retireds and ex-service personnel.

Ensuring insurance is well prepared both for today and tomorrow is a partnership between employers and the CII. Working together we can ensure that our sector remains a global leader and hub for innovation, quality and specialisation.