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Industry Insiders: Jessica Willis on Insurance and Financial Services

Summit Search Group

Jessica Willis

Recruitment Consultant

Jessica Willis

Recruitment Consultant

Whether your expertise is managing risk or leveraging assets, one thing is certain: in this turbulent economy, the nuanced skill of insurance and financial sector professionals is essential. At Summit Search Group, we’re proud to offer hiring for professionals and executive professionals in property and casualty insurance, group and life insurance, and financial management. 

The financial industry moves quickly. It demands active, engaged candidates ready to hit the ground running, with the energy and savvy required to tackle serious challenges. The market is competitive, and we can’t wait to set you up for success.

Industry Challenges in Insurance and Finance

Our in-house insurance and financial recruitment expert Jessica Willis knows the technical subtleties — and challenges — of the industry. “The biggest challenge for clients in insurance and finance is finding engaged and qualified candidates who are open to change. You want high performing candidates with the precise, and technical insurance or finance experience that matches your challenges.”

These kinds of positions require high level training, appropriate certifications, professional licensing, technical mastery, and specialized skills. Unfortunately for clients seeking these talented professionals, they tend to already be employed by someone else. “In my experience, 80-90% of the best talent in the marketplace is already actively engaged in an existing role,” Jessica adds. “These are the people with the technical expertise — they’re the ones you want on your team.”

Canada’s Thriving Insurance and Financial Sector

The insurance and financial sector holds a valuable place in the Canadian economy. The P&C insurance industry alone contributes over $8 billion in taxes and levies to federal and provincial governments each year, and has written over 50 billion dollars in annual direct premiums in Canada since 2017 as they work to protect homes, cars and businesses across the country. 

In addition, Canadian banks and financial services consistently rank among the world’s safest and most secure. The World Economic Forum reported Canada as the world’s soundest banking system for six consecutive years, with well established technology and exceptional access for customers.

The sector presents multi-layered challenges, and skilled talent delivers critical insight to their customers. “Well-networked, disciplined specialists are the key to a company’s success,” Jessica notes. “The skillset is very specific, and recruiting the right people makes a huge difference — building amazing financial teams is an art.”

Financial Talent and the Future

In today’s market, Jessica highlights the progression of new talent as a key trend. “The landscape needs to be ready to tap into industry networks to find great mid-level skill, and capitalize on this new energy to inspire future success,” Jessica adds.

She also emphasizes candidate motivations as a critical component to lasting impact at any company — and now, more than ever, these motivations truly vary. Some of the most talented may not be focused on bottom-line compensation, but seek more flexibility, opportunity, autonomy, or lifestyle benefits. 

“At Summit, we pay attention to what modern talent really wants. We probe and unpack the complexities of each situation to make sure the next steps of a candidate’s journey align with a particular company to ensure the best fit. We put a lot of focus on finding the right people for the job, and we have solid, trusting relationships with our clients for just that reason,” Jessica adds. 

Tips for Finding Top Insurance Talent

With so many layers to finding the right match, it’s essential for both clients and candidates to work to stand out. Varying levels of technical expertise and the unique subtleties of any given portfolio require a keen eye and attention to specific detail, and Jessica emphasizes leading with your differentiators: set your skills or your specific opportunity apart.

Lasting success means more than just aligning skills, though. “My greatest advice is that insurance and finance are fast-paced industries. It’s highly competitive. Insurance talent moves particularly quickly, so if you’re looking for talent and you find a great candidate, make an offer,” Jessica says.

“Paint a realistic picture to make the best match. Outstanding talent will move on if the opportunity isn’t right. Candidates want positive, rewarding cultures where they feel valued. Celebrate their growth and strengths. Make the promises and deliver on them. Challenge and encourage. The dream can be sold, and then sometimes the expectations aren’t met. Be straightforward — and you will set everyone up for long-term success.”

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Industry Insiders: Jessica Willis on Insurance and Financial Services

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