UK - A massive shortage of qualified and experienced staff is boosting salaries in the pension industry, a new survey shows.
The study - carried out by Hays Inter-Selection - found that there is a strong demand for administrators, pensions managers and technicians.
The report - Group Pensions: Salary and Benefits Survey - showed the ongoing pensions review had diverted potential staff away from working in the group pensions industry. But it noted that review teams were also struggling to retain experienced and skilled staff.
Hays Inter-Selection manager David Jones said the main reason for the shortage was because the pensions sector was not regarded as a “sexy and glamorous industry.” Nine times out of 10, people fell into working in pensions, rather than consciously deciding to enter the sector.
Jones said: “The advent and continuation of the pensions review has meant that a number of junior staff have opted for the greater returns within the review rather than pursuing a career within group pensions.
This has led to a shortage of staff with three to six years’ experience and a subsequent alteration in a number of job roles in order to offset this problem.”
The survey highlighted that final salary experience is more sought after than money purchase experience and a pensions manager is better off working in-house than in a third-party consultancy.
The research was undertaken on in-house and third party administrators across the UK.
London remains top of the pension salary ladder but the gap is narrowing.A comprehensive study by recruitment specialist Hays Inter-Selection shows that staff shortages are pushing up salary levels across the UK.
Firms relocating to regions outside of the capital have also forced regional salaries up as well as staff relocation and regional shortages.
The survey also found that final salary administrators are paid more than their money purchase counterparts (see tables three and four) and skilled technical staff can earn more than team leaders and deputy managers.
In addition individual salary rates are affected by professional qualifications, specific skill and experience levels and an organisation’s specific needs.
The survey revealed there were 700 active vacancies for staff with Group pensions experience across the UK and finding quality staff was becoming extremely challenging.
Hays Inter-Selection manager David Jones said: “There has been an increase in demand but a restriction in supply because the group pensions market has expanded with the introduction of stakeholder. Also the amount of schemes that are now administered by a third party has increased which has led to more companies focusing greater resources onto their group pension administration function.”
He added: “With increased business and competition, the pressure to attract and retain experienced and quality staff has become paramount so salaries have risen.”
The continuation of the pensions review has also meant that a number of staff have opted for the greater returns within the review rather than pursuing a career within group pensions.
Jones argued that the pensions industry has become accustomed to the fact that candidates for positions are in short supply and it has adapted its internal structures to it to cope with pressures of the staff-shortage.
The survey also highlighted that pension schemes which shied away from recruiting school and college leavers with little or no work experience are now happy to take this option and provide intensive training to allow new and raw recruits to get up to speed.
The report quoted one senior industry source who said: “It is a case of having to make do with what is available. Over the last year we have tried to ensure that w
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