Benefits and Health & Welfare Career Benchmark

This is a brief analysis of a recently conducted survey.

The objective of the survey was to learn how benefits and health & welfare professionals view their careers.

More specifically, we wanted to learn how the Industry has been impacted by the changes in technology, the healthcare reform initiatives, generational changes taking place in the workforce and behavioral changes of the employer clients they serve. In addition, we wanted to know how those variable has impacted their careers.

You can view the survey questions here. It was completed by individuals at different levels who worked for various employee benefits consulting and brokerage firms in Chicago, Illinois. While the survey was from a small sample, the results can serve as a benchmark for all the major markets on how to successfully manage a professional service organization that relies on human capital for generating revenue.

Here are the key take-aways from the results of the survey:

Even though consultants and brokers are challenged in adjusting to this changing taking place in the Industry along with the push from management to do more with less; the vast majority are very optimistic about future potential business opportunities for their employers and professional growth for their careers.

Another threat to the Industry is a potential talent drain resulting from the demand for skilled health & benefits professionals.  This threat is from a number of new firms that has entered the space. Some of these new firms include start-ups, technology, wellness and healthcare providers. Their survival in this space hinges on successfully poaching talent away from the traditional consulting and brokerage firms.

Poaching talent may be a difficult undertaking as most are planning to remain with the traditional firms

The main reasons why many have decided to remain with the traditional consulting/brokerage firms is because the vast majority were referred into the Industry from a career perspective.  They have chosen to remain because they enjoy the type of work they do and they are highly compensated. And, equally as important, most are reluctant to join these new firms because of the perception that it may result in a backward step from a compensation perspective.

The more things change the more they remain the same

Even though most professionals in the space are content with their careers, employers in that space must be proactive in addressing their needs to ensure continuity of a productive consulting staff. Three of the needs identified were: an increasing level of responsibilities in a given role, a wider variety of projects in a given role, but the most important was a blended role that offers exposure to the technical, client facing and revenue development sides of the business.

Employee retention is the new recruitment strategy

Historically, the success of the traditional consulting/brokerage firms in generating revenue has been determined by that firm’s talent acquisition strategy. Today, employee retention is now the new strategy for successfully recruiting the best talent. That means, the firms with objectives of promoting a working environment which focuses on meeting the personal needs of their consultants, support their consultants with the caliber of individuals that will challenge them to exceed their own expectations and compensate them at a level that is above the market will enjoy a competitive advantage retaining and acquiring new clients.

You get what you pay for

Since the majority of the consultants/brokers were referred into the Industry, we feel that the traditional firms need to invest in recruitment efforts that focuses on either generating employee referrals or nurturing a talent pipeline of potential job applicants or relying on professional recruitment agencies.

Why good conultants are hard to find

Based on this data, it is apparent that advertising job vacancies on the Internet, social media or on the career page on the corporate website has become less effective in attracting top talent given that most are happy in their present jobs, are well paid, and are open to increasing responsibilities on their present teams.

Click here to view the results of the survey