Attracting and keeping high-quality people in an area where unemployment is only 2 per cent is one of the major challenges for Skandia.
The majority of the company’s 2,000-strong workforce is based in Southampton and Skandia is among the biggest employers in the area.
As well as Southampton, we employ 400 people on the Isle of Man, where offshore arm Royal Skandia is based. The company also employs 140 sales consultants who operate from nine regional UK offices.
As you would expect for a company this size, a diverse mix of skills and expertise is required and we invest considerable resources in recruitment. Local advertising, use of agencies and recruitment fairs provide good access to admin and support staff but attracting technical specialists requires a different approach.
Developing a strong network of expert national recruitment consultants across a wide range of specialisms is essential. Actuarial, legal, marketing and product development, investment research, HR and sales are just some of the technical areas that operate within the group.
PR also plays a part and we work hard to ensure the relevant local media are kept up to date with what is going on within the organisation.
Being based on the south coast has advantages and disadvantages. A key advantage is lifestyle. Being close to stunning countryside such as the New Forest and with easy access to some of the UK’s best beaches is a big draw for people who want a high-quality lifestyle for themselves and their families. The good road network means it is possible to live up to 50 miles away yet still be in the office within an hour of leaving home and we are well served by good schools and public transport.
On the downside, Southampton is just a bit too far for the majority of people to commute from London so people who are committed to living there are harder to attract.
However, we do have a central London office and modern technology means that it is much easier to have a flexible approach to work locations than was possible even 10 years ago.
With people being such a core part of our success, we recognise that it is essential to be flexible. Once on the payroll at Skandia, career development is a central part of retaining people. Employees are encouraged to apply for jobs within the group and many vacancies are filled by people already working within the organisation.
To help people develop their full potential, Skandia invests around 1m a year in employee training across all areas of the business.
Training at all levels is central to the development and retention of key employees.
Our focus on attracting and retaining the best people certainly pays off when it comes to what we achieve as a business.
The bottom line is to be the best takes the best people and we are committed to providing a working environment and opportunities which ensure that we attract and retain the best staff.