Insurance 2021 Review: Boom in UK recruitment as industry bounces back from pandemic

Feb 7, 2022 | Insurance, News

  • UK insurance jobs up 74% year-on-year after dropping nearly a quarter in 2020
  • Monthly hiring hit record levels in August 2021, a year-on-year rise of 124% 
  • NFU Mutual is industry’s leading recruiter, Ardonagh Group in fastest growth
  • Brokers most in demand specialists, hiring for risk specialists with largest surge

Insurance companies in the UK published a record number of vacancies in 2021 as the sector recovered from the effects of the pandemic and set its sights on further growth, new research shows.

According to a labour market report by data analytics firm Vacancysoft, insurers recorded over 23,000 new jobs in 2021, a rise of 74% year-on-year and 31.7% higher than 2019. This followed a fall of 24% year-on-year during the first year of covid-19. Monthly hiring volumes hit record levels in August 2021 with over 2,400 new sector vacancies, representing a 124.6% year-on-year rise and a 58.8% increase in the same month in 2019. 

James Chaplin, CEO of Vacancysoft, said: “The insurance industry in general has shown its resilience over the course of the covid-19 pandemic. There were losses in life insurance because of heightened mortality rates, but as fewer people travelled and more worked from home, there were fewer claims in property and casualty insurance.

“Although restrictions and lockdowns impacted new business, and low interest rates and volatile markets impeded investment, insurers quickly adapted to the new environment. Despite ongoing concerns surrounding the pandemic, 2022 should see more growth – although regulation, talent shortages, and new and emerging consumer preferences will be hurdles to overcome  the coming 12 months.”

NFU Mutual with most UK vacancies, Ardonagh Group largest surge

NFU Mutual is the industry’s leading recruiter in 2021, publishing a little over 1,240 new vacancies (up 64.1% year-on-year). Hiring levels at The Ardonagh Group saw the fastest growth, up 482% in relation to a year previous. At only 26.2% year-on-year, BGL Group experienced the smallest increase in vacancies out of the top 20 insurance companies.

Top firms, insurance sector vacancies, United Kingdom, 2020-2021 [see report for Top 20]

# Company 2020 2021 % YOY
1 NFU Mutual 761 1249 64.1%
2 The Ardonagh Group 201 1171 482.5%
3 Legal & General 691 1065 54.1%
4 AXA 701 1057 50.7%
5 AA 499 849 70.1%
17 BGL Group 274 346 26.2%


Brokers most in demand specialists, hiring for risk specialists with largest surge

Out of industry-specific specialisms, the largest volumes of new jobs in 2021 were for insurance brokers, with vacancies up 121.6%. Hiring levels for risk specialists were up 126% year-on-year. The smallest increase was experienced by actuarial positions, which grew by a modest 44.5% last year in relation to 2021.

Vacancies for IT professionals accounted for over 40% of non-industry-specific roles, with new jobs for these specialists up 41.6% year-on-year. Recruitment for consultants experienced the largest growth (400%) followed by new jobs for marketing professionals (79.7%). 

London increase share of labour market while new jobs rocket in North East

The London market continues to dominate UK insurance recruitment, accounting for 39.4% of all new jobs in 2021 — a proportion that has risen 4.7 percentage points since 2019. The 8,700+ new vacancies in the capital last year represent an 84.5% year-on-year increase, and a 52% rise compared to 2019. 

The fastest growing region, however, has been the North East, where professional recruitment is up 201.6% year-on-year and 109.8% up on pre-pandemic levels. Hiring levels in the South West and the West Midlands, meanwhile, were the most muted, with both regions experiencing increases of 56% year-on-year. 

  • The data for this article is taken from an annual review of the insurance labour market produced by Vacancysoft. Read it here.

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