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Insurance Business | 10 Oct 2013, 12:00 AM Agree 0
If the industry is struggling to get fresh new talent, shouldn’t it also be considering experienced, older professionals? One broker thinks experienced seniors are being overlooked for roles.
  • Broker in Melbourne | 10 Oct 2013, 10:21 AM Agree 0
    The difficultly I find here is that it has not been reported by either this publication, nor the broker Mr Levin the number of roles the recruiters have put him forward for.
    Unfortunately, within the recruitment of employees there is an additional layer of an employer - who tends to have quite the ultimate say more frequently than a recruiter. If there is a senior person applying for more junior roles, there comes in the question of how long is that person intending on staying in that role? I do not mean disrespect, but this is definitely a thought process of many employers - the longevity of a placement.
    Secondly, there are some very speciliased recruitment agencies out there - with ex insurance people working within the recruitment side of their businesses, wh would know as well as any broker the technical requirements.
    And finally - is the job market not rather tricksy at the moment? with downturn everywhere, there are many people up for roles, qualified or not.
  • Former International Broker | 10 Oct 2013, 10:27 AM Agree 0
    I don't know Lester or his circumstances but I was told whilst employed by an international that "the gold dust in the place was the 25-30's" and that at 52, I was "past it". Needless to say I moved on to somewhere where experience was a bonus not a set back. The industry seems to be moving toward a call center model where solid technical knowledge is not required. More fool them.
  • Employing Broker | 10 Oct 2013, 10:47 AM Agree 0
    I must say I am highly dissappointed in the recruitment agancies. I currently have 3 positions vacant - assistant brokers. You would think recruitment agencies would be out there looking. But my feeling is they sit on their backsides and wait for prospects to come in the door. They definately do not earn their 10 or 15 or higher percentage. I am about to offer 2 of the persons I interviewed and reference checked positions. Recuitment Agencies get your acts together. Of 9 interviews only 1 was from an agency!
  • thebiggerpicture | 10 Oct 2013, 10:50 AM Agree 0
    In all honesty lets be quite transparent about what a client is looking for. I've been a recruiter for many years and although clients cannot discriminate because of age it has to be realised that the client has a clear idea of what they are looking for when making a hire in regard to experience, qualifications, and the candidate's background.

    Quite simply in the current market, which is very competitive, perhaps he's not a strong candidate. I can understand his frustration if he's struggling to find work, my suggestion is the recruiters dealing with him need to be honest and extend honest communication. Without seeing his resume I would suggest the reason why Mr Levin is finding it difficult to find work is perhaps due to previous poor tenure, weak references or quite simply because he's been out of the job market for too long.

    I think its short sighted to suggest its due to age, let's not forget that recruiters work for a fee and therefore its in their best interest to represent strong candidates, irrespective of age, gender or race.
  • John | 10 Oct 2013, 11:02 AM Agree 0
    Whilst I sympathise with Mr Levin in this instance, I'm not sure that brokers are well served by the recent spate of articles and comments criticising recruitment agencies from the angle that they are extra links in the chain.

    We're both intermediaries, so advocating that recruitment should be direct with recruiters cut out of the equation but insurancxe shouldn't is double standards.

    This isn't to defend recruitment agencies, they've got myriad faults in my experience. But questioning their right to exist will not serve brokers well, there are plenty of other faults to highlight.

  • The Observer | 10 Oct 2013, 11:30 AM Agree 0
    We have been able to recruit good candidates by advertising privately. Seriously, shouldn't employers be experienced enough to choose their own staff? Age should not matter.
  • Nothing to do with age | 10 Oct 2013, 11:33 AM Agree 0
    As a previous commenter has mentioned, there are many criteria a recruiter or employer is looking for when screening and short listing resumes for a specific role. Three 'red flags' are usually the following:

    Tenures: If someone has had several jobs in a short amount of time and specified sketchy 'reasons for leaving' on their resume, this is not looked upon favourably by a prospective employer who is looking for longevity and commitment.

    Time out of industry/Up to date skills: When a candidate has taken several 'career breaks' lasting 2 years or longer during the course of their career this is hard to justify as well.

    Recent, valid references: If a candidate cannot provide 2 x professional references from past employers this also halts the process for recruiters, as they must supply these to clients and perform valid background checks in all cases.

    Unfortunately it is a candidate strong market and there are enough broking candidates in the market with long tenures, no career gaps and strong professional references.

    Hopefully none of the above points mentioned apply to Lester's resume and he will be successful in finding work very soon.
  • The Observer | 10 Oct 2013, 11:52 AM Agree 0
    Just a thought Mr Lester, do stay away from call centres where your excellent experience is not appreciated. Your strengths probably be best utilised to 'mentor' or 'coach' the less experienced staff. You deserve the respect and recognition from this industry.
    All the best!
  • Age is an issue | 10 Oct 2013, 12:31 PM Agree 0
    Age is an issue and I agree with Lester's claim that mature age personnel are being overlooked.
    I have been looking for another job opportunity for over a year and believe I am being ignored, primarily by employment agencies which look only at my age, and I dispute with anyone who thinks this may have anything to do with previous poor tenure, or weak references.
    I am one of the longest serving Professional / Financial Lines Brokers in Melbourne who has mentored / coached / trained a number of other people who are now forging their own careers in this industry because of the quality of the experience and work ethic that I have been able to impart on them.
    Depsite this, I too am unable to even get put forward for any positions for which I am clearly qualified (or over-qualified).
  • Unsolicited advice | 10 Oct 2013, 01:26 PM Agree 0
    Please keep in mind that brokerages use multiple ways to find and recruit talent. The first thing I did when I read this article is hop onto LinkedIn to check out Lester's LinkedIn profile, of which his name is there but no profile and no connections! I think candidates have got to demonstrate that you've got the experience (which I've no doubt that you have) but also that you can adapt to new trends in broking, which includes social media. Start with LinkedIn - build your profile as though it is your online resume, make sure you have a photo and then work on building your network by connecting with your contacts in the industry. These are some of the things recruiters look at straight away and if you aren't doing this and other candidates are then it really may have nothing to do with your age. Hop online, and good luck to you Lester, all the best.
  • The challenges of Recruitment | 10 Oct 2013, 01:40 PM Agree 0
    It is worth pointing out that the recruiter does not discriminate!!!. They are the Agent for the Employer and they source candidates for the role based on the brief/criteria that they are given from their client. They only get paid if they place someone into the role so they would like nothing more than to have an open playing field with no barriers on age/experience.

    Remember that the Recruiter is not doing the hiring and they are not the decision maker. Their job is purely and simply to screen candidates and submit the resumes for candidates who are the right fit for the role (nothing more or nothing less).

    If the client is very specific/adamant that they will only consider candidates of a certain age bracket or level of experience, then the recruiter has no choice but to go along with it (even if they disagree and have made their opinion known to that Employer). You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink!!!.

    The Recruiter would get their marching orders very quickly from their client if they sent resumes for candidates who didn’t fit the criteria that they were given.

    The big problem here is that if a recruiter told an applicant that they were not suitable based on their age, that person will go ballistic and accuse the Recruiter of discrimination and possibly take legal action against them so the Recruiter is on a hiding to nothing as they are not able to disclose who the role is with or in some cases the reason for the rejection so they are on a hiding to nothing and in the firing line!!!

    Personally if I was looking for a job, I would much rather get honest feedback and have my application knocked on the head at the start as opposed to having my time wasted for when I had no chance of securing the role.

    The reality is that in the current job market there is no shortage of quality candidates available so the Employer is spoilt for choice. Their preference will always be to hire candidates who are currently employed in that space, who have relationships with underwriters etc.

    The best advice is for both the employer and candidate to engage the services of specialist insurance recruiter who comes from the industry. There are a lot of cowboys out there and what they know about Insurance, you can put on the back of a business card. Using a specialist insurance recruiter is a win win for employers and candidates.
  • Grey Owl | 10 Oct 2013, 02:33 PM Agree 0
    I've realised that recruitment agencies are absolutely not worth the expense involved; at any level.
    Ill informed, unprofessional, looking for the easy buck, putting statements on an applicants CV that are patently untrue and they charge like wounded steers!
    Go hunt for staff yourselves, ask around.
    Some of the best staff never came from an insurance background but they had critical qualities - intelligence, a desire to learn and wanted to get ahead for themselves.
    Good luck.
  • Right time right place | 10 Oct 2013, 04:06 PM Agree 0
    I don't do Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and loathe the football and drinking culture. I don't participate in the so-called 'networking'. Not a political animal and definitely not the call-centre material. However, I learned my skills and service my clients the old-fashioned way. (Not just the cheapest premium!).

    In my 60s and have been a broker for a long time, I am now working for a client who wants a professional insurance broker to handle their insurance and risk management issues!
    Like all professions, insurance recruitment agencies are ok, and of course, there are good, better, and best.
  • Robert Cooper | 10 Oct 2013, 04:41 PM Agree 0
    Lester, I certainly feel for you. I too found it a struggle to find employment after losing my job a few times. There is a lot of prejudice out there by employers who claim "I just cannot find any decent staff" when they really want people who are cheap, know less than them (so they do not show them up) and are not a future threat to their own positions. After hearing I was "over qualified" too many times, or "what accounts can you bring" to us? I decided to start up my own business and become an AR of a broker Licensee. While that does not suit everyone, being your own boss and creating your own employment was the best thing I ever did. There are business opportunities to offer support services to Insurance Brokers too, where firms contract you as needed to assist with overflows or when they go on leave, or even illness. Market yourself (create an attractive CV on Linked In etc, write articles for publications such as this one), re-build your contacts, offer to be a consultant on a fee for service basis, attend industry association functions. Network.
    You can do it. It takes time but you have to create the opportunities yourself. You have too much knowledge put there from experience and training to let it go to waste. The Insurance Industry does need you, they just do not realise it yet. Make them realise it. And Best of luck.
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