UK - Pension schemes are facing an increasing skill shortage for top level positions.
Investment consultant William M Mercer said that as companies move towards integrating pensions with more mainstream areas - such as human resources -schemes begin to seek pension managers with a greater range of skills.
William M Mercer European partner Robert Plumb said: “Organisations are having difficulty in finding candidates who aren't too narrowly focused on pensions. Many clients want to manage pensions as part of an overall employee benefits programme. Schemes need candidates with good communications and management skills – important given the high profile of pensions today.”
An increasing number of pension schemes are outsourcing the administration side of their scheme – fearing administration failures caused by staff shortages.
OPRA has already stated that the vast majority of problems it finds are due to “sloppy administration”.
Plumb added: “I think that [skills shortages] are one of the triggers for outsourcing. Where an organisation is unable to attract and retain the right people within its pensions function it is often a convenient time to outsource anyway.”
Managing director at specialist recruitment consultant Darwin Rhodes, Peter Dunphy, said that current problems in recruiting administrative staff was twofold – an upheaval of pension regulation and the growth of IT. Dunphy said: “Rapid changes in legislation and the implementation of the Pensions Act have caught quite a lot of people out and unless people actively keep up to date with the latest regulations you’re left out of the loop.”
Dunphy isolated two key skill sets which applicants most often lacked. He said: “There is a shortage of people with the right technical knowledge and a shortage of people who have good IT skills. The whole area of administration has become highly IT led.”
Only last week Clerical Medical provoked fears that its administrative system was unable to cope when it was forced to close its doors to almost all new business after admitting it was not been processed for “several months”.
By Jonathan Stapleton
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