Talent in Insurance: does the industry have a graduate problem?

Held on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

With support from Deloitte


  • Margaret Doyle (partner and head of Financial Services Insights team, Deloitte) 

  • Marcelle Foxcroft (head of resourcing, AXA)

  • Tara Hutton (head of talent, learning and development, Zurich UK)

  • Anna Wright (talent programme manager, Lloyd's)



Every couple of years, Deloitte puts out a report on graduate recruitment in the financial services industry. Last April, we held a round-table discussion based on the firm’s latest “Talent in Banking” report. This round-table is a follow-up: it is based on the firm’s sister survey, “Talent in Insurance” – which, in 2015, was (rather sweetly) subtitled “putting the nectar in the sector”.

The report is blunt. Its opening sentence gives the game away: “Insurance is unpopular as a careers choice”. Worst, the industry appears to be doing little to improve its standing, and the young people that it is attracting seem (and, again, I quote) to “lack an innovative mind-set”. Those who aspire to work in insurance “appear conservative, based on their high hopes to work for financially strong, secure and prestigious employers”. In other words, boring…

Personally (since the CSFI is located in Leadenhall Market, and I can watch the insurance industry at play from 2pm every day), “conservative” is not the word that comes to mind. But the point is that (according to the Deloitte survey) the insurance industry – which is surely one of the most dynamic in the country, with almost limitless scope for innovative thinking and new product development – isn’t getting its fair share of the country’s best and brightest.

So, what can the industry do? To discuss the survey and its conclusions, and to offer thoughts for the future, I am delighted that Margaret Doyle has agreed to kick off the discussion. Margaret (whom many of you will remember from the Daily Telegraph, Economist and Breaking Views) is the partner in charge of financial services insight in the UK.

But maybe all that is just the usual pie-in-the-sky. We have, therefore, asked three HR professionals from the insurance industry itself to respond:

  • Marcelle Foxcroft, who is head of resourcing at AXA insurance, responsible for setting and implementing the resourcing agenda for AXA across the UK;
  • Tara Hutton, who is head of talent, learning and development at Zurich UK and a member of the company’s UK HR Leadership team; and
  • Anna Wright, who is talent programme manager at Lloyd’s of London, where she is responsible for the design, implementation and operation of the market’s talent development programme.

“Let’s make insurance sexy” may not work as a slogan, but the industry cannot afford to fall behind in the race for talent – hence this round-table.