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Placements during a pandemic

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Employment prospects bright for Bermudians in IB
by Annabel Cooper

In spite of the economic upheaval over the last year, Malika Taylor, managing director of Expertise Group, has been busy at both ends of the recruitment scale. On the one hand she and her team have been helping those who found themselves out of work or underemployed. On the other, they have been leading executive searches for many of the start-ups and scale-ups that have chosen this island as their home.

Malika Taylor, managing director of Expertise Group

“Bermuda has a rich pool of talent for the industries that have chosen Bermuda for their 2020-2021 offices and the talent needs that we’re being asked to help source range from underwriters and actuaries to office managers and risk professionals,” she explained.

The jobs in high demand require quantitative skills, analysis, and technical proficiency. “We primarily have been finding that talent on island, but as demand increases, I think we will have to consider what other rich talent pools are out there,” she said.

The knock-on effect of these new jobs is that they create vacancies, which also need to be filled. “Business hasn’t slowed down for the existing insurance players when talent moves on,” continued Ms. Taylor, “but the replacement spot does not automatically get positioned back in the Bermuda office.” She warned that companies are still discerning with their budgets, especially when it comes to headcount, and will often do a global search. “If that talent is found in Bermuda, that’s great, the job will stay in Bermuda, but if the talent is not found here then we lose that opportunity to another jurisdiction.”

Bermuda therefore must strive to remain attractive to these businesses. “Bermuda already has a great talent pool, sound regulations, quality education, first-class healthcare, but other countries have that too,” she said. “One of the things that we can do differently and better than anywhere else is to be the most welcoming place on earth, plus having a globally proficient workforce.”

Her first piece of advice to those looking for a career in this area is to “be locally minded, but globally proficient. Young Bermudians really need to cultivate a best-in-class mind-set and skill-set”, and they can use Bermuda as an “initial springboard. Bermuda College, scholarship opportunities, and internship opportunities are a great way to start.”

If you are older and want to change to an international business career, she recommended speaking to a recruitment specialist who can advise on what is possible and “introduce you to companies that are prepared to take on people who have transferrable skill-sets and a great track record in their previous employment.”

As pandemic-related unemployment began to rise in late March and early April 2020, many people coming to Ms Taylor for help lacked the necessary technology skills. Expertise therefore organised free workshops to change that. “We spent a lot of time teaching people how to be tech savvy,” she said. “We did it early on as we saw the immense need for people to quickly shift their mindset.”

When Ms Taylor reflects on what happened to industries such as hospitality and retail, she believes it proves just how vital the international business sector is to Bermuda: “A lot of our international business clients were not just able to pivot their employees to a safe ‘working remotely’ environment, but shortly thereafter they began to hire again.”

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