Michelle Straka, B.A. Recruiting Consultant DGA Careers
www.dgacareers.com (July 2001)
It is important to be well informed and realistic when considering what you are worth to
employers in your industry. Determine what you are worth to potential employers before you begin your job search.
Take stock of your skills. The following
are questions that you should ask yourself: What do I have to offer a potential employer?
Am I skilled in other areas that a potential employer can utilize, giving the company
‘more for their dollar’? Am I cross-trained in two areas that are traditionally
separate? For example, many insurance companies are utilizing underwriters that have
marketing or production capabilities instead of maintaining separate underwriting and
Remember that, while having the technical
skills required to do the job is important, having ‘soft-skills’ such as good
communication, writing and analysis will add to your worth as an employee. Visit the
website of the Insurance Institute of Canada www.iic-iac.org
to view the skills necessary for different occupations in the insurance industry such as
underwriter, adjuster, actuary and broker.
Monitor industry demands and trends. Keep
an eye on the industry and the skill sets that are in demand. The insurance industry is
constantly changing, and the demand for certain skill sets will follow. If you are
interested in maximizing the salary that you earn, try conducting your job search during a
period when your skill set is in high demand. A determining factor of higher salaries is
the limited supply of a specific skill set in relation to the demand for it.
In most cases, if you have a unique skill
set you may command a higher salary. Keep tabs on the new trends emerging in the industry
and respond by taking courses and developing skills that reflect those new trends. For
example, computer skills are important as companies and brokerages increase their use of
technology. Learn the computer systems that are most widely used by the industry.
Review salary surveys and guides specific
to the insurance industry. It will help to know what salaries your peers are making.
Occupational salary ranges are detailed by Ontario Job Futures 2000 on
www.hrdc-drhc.gc.ca. Another method is to skim job
postings to get a general idea of what insurance companies are paying.
Know that where you live will have an
impact on the salary you earn. Salary ranges vary from region to region. For example, the
salary commanded by an underwriter may be considerably higher in Toronto than that of an
underwriter in a smaller community. Keep this in mind when you are determining your
monetary worth to avoid developing unrealistic expectations.
Salary can be the deciding factor in accepting a position, or it can be an impassable
roadblock. However, you can start your job search on the right note by knowing what salary you are able
to command at the outset!