ZURICH SETS OUT TO FUTURE-PROOF 3,000 UK WORKERS

On a mission to be future ready, the organisation is dedicated to nurturing ‘home grown talent’ to combat the skills shortage

  • Zurich’s workforce analysis has identified 270 robotics, data science and cyber security jobs that could go unfilled by 2024 if the employees aren’t reskilled for the future today
  • This year alone, Zurich has invested almost £1 million to upskill existing employees to combat gap
  • Already, Zurich’s newly formed Automation Academy has supported the formation of a 40 strong AI team, all of whom have been retrained from across the business
  • Each retrained team member has received an average pay increase of 10% in their first year alone
  • In the long term, upskilling home-grown talent could save the business £1 million in recruitment and redundancy costs

Zurich’s analysis of its UK workforce showed that 270 jobs could go unfilled in the next five years if the team is not reskilled for the future. These roles would predominantly be in more specialist areas such as robotics, data science and cyber security. The research, which was carried out with AI analytics platform Faethm, also revealed that two thirds of the UK workforce will see a tenth of their roles augmented in the next five years.

This year alone, Zurich UK has invested almost £1 million[2] future proofing its workforce to build a truly adaptable and agile team. To do this, the business is on a mission to retrain 3,000 UK employees, two thirds of the workforce, over the next five years to ensure the skills gap is closed. By anticipating the future impact of technology, the extended timeline will give employees the opportunity to further enhance and develop their careers as the can embark on new skills and projects across the business. Likewise, the long-term upskilling of home-grown talent could also save the business £1 million in recruitment and redundancy costs alone.

When it comes to automation, Zurich has already introduced over 120[3] new automated interventions which process over a million individual transactions a year, with a further 100 in the pipeline. Over the next 12 months this figure is expected to double. This includes processes such as faster customer payments and collation of policy documentation.

  • Introduction of Data and Automation Academies
    • Last year, in an industry-first, Zurich became the first financial services provider to launch its own Data and Automation Academies which reinforced the development and support of automation, robotics and innovation across the UK business.
  • This year 120 new processes implemented
    • This year the Automation Academy has evolved to facilitate the building and implementation of necessary claims automation solutions to support our claims commitment and ensure great customer outcomes.
    • Zurich has partnered with the University of Winchester to help develop a three-year Data Science Apprenticeship degree. Already, seven of Zurich’s employees are among the first cohort embarking on the course, which is open to students from across the country.
  • Next steps in 2021
    • Zurich intends to create a teaching module: ‘A New Mindset: Leading in a Digital Era’. The new tool will empower managers within Zurich to educate their workforce around how digital upskilling can benefit their current and future careers.
    • We will also continue to evolve and scale the existing academies whilst launching academies in DevOps, Customer & Innovation and Leadership.

John Keppel, COO at Zurich UK comments: ‘The skill set of our workforce is constantly changing. As an industry, we battle for top market talent to try and fill that gap. At Zurich, we don’t believe it has to be this way. Whilst we can’t ignore the benefits that automation brings, it’s important to retain, nurture and educate our teams. This is a clear opportunity, not a threat to our employees. It’s crucial that we factor the future skills requirements for the business into the process now. If we know what’s coming, we can start transitioning existing employees into new careers today.’

Alastair Robertson, Head of Continuous Improvement and Automation at Zurich UK continues: ‘My team is a perfect example of how to nurture existing employees for the future. There are many preconceived ideas about implementing automated processes into a business and how it these roles must be carried out by tech specialists. In reality, the best people to do this effectively have worked within the function that you’re looking to automate as they really understand the process.’

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