Canadian Underwriter

Talent crunch getting tighter, broker survey shows

March 23, 2022   by David Gambrill

Canadian Underwriter National Broker Survey: Broker success strategies revealed

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Finding qualified talent is the biggest challenge facing almost seven out 10 Canadian brokerages right now.

And the talent crunch is getting even tighter. Sixty-nine per cent of brokers report finding qualified workers their biggest challenge – a 7% increase over when the pandemic began two years ago, according to Canadian Underwriter’s 2022 national survey of more than 250 brokers.

“Finding qualified workers is a real challenge,” one experienced broker in a large brokerage commented. “Training and promoting from within works well, but replacing the position at the lower level isn’t always so easy either. This is an industry reputation issue, and we can do more to fix that as an industry. But the real problem is the demographic disruption every industry is facing.

“Treat your people well. Opportunities for them in our business are like a city bus, another one comes by every 20 minutes.”

Of the brokerage principals identified in the survey, 63% of men and 85% of women identified recruitment as the biggest challenge facing their brokerages right now.

The numbers show the recruitment challenge is felt more by mid-sized brokerages (20-99 employees) and large brokerages (more than 100 employees) than small brokerages (fewer than 20 employees). For example, only 51% of small brokerage principals identified the hiring crunch as their biggest challenge, whereas the numbers shoot up to 90% of mid-size brokerages principals and 91% of broker principals from large brokerages.

Interestingly, retention doesn’t appear to be an issue.

Brokers in Canadian Underwriter’s survey, while more frustrated with aspects of the hard market, don’t seem to be racing for the exits. During what’s now being called ‘The Great Re-Shuffle,’ those brokers already in the profession generally seem content to stay.

Seventy-four per cent of the more than 75 broker principals/owners in the survey believed their employees were generally happy with their experience at their brokerage. That’s down 6% from the prior two COVID years.

But if you look at the brokers producers’ answers, they seem to be more loyal than their employers think. Seventy-seven per cent of producers reported the highest satisfaction scores with their current employers. Granted, their loyalty has diminished somewhat as the hard market drags on (scores were 83% in 2020 and 79% in 2021), but still the number has been consistently over 77% for the past three years.

And when we asked brokers if they planned to leave the broker profession voluntarily for any reason over the next three years, only 24% reported it was highly likely. That’s entirely consistent with responses throughout the pandemic (23% in 2021 and 24% in 2020).

Overall, 77% of more than 250 respondents rated their profession between 8 and 10 on a job satisfaction scale (10 being the highest satisfaction).


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