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Will workers comp salary expectations keep growing? Early insights into the Workforce Intel Survey

31 Jan 2024, by Amy Sarcevic

When HAYLO People undertook their nationally-acclaimed salary survey, Workforce Intel, in 2020, they pre-empted some concerning trends for the workers’ compensation sector.

Higher salary expectations, an increased appetite for flexibility, and an alarming proportion of people looking to vacate their roles, were among the predictions that rocked the sector shortly thereafter.

As the company commences data collection for its 2024 survey, Director Andrew Smith told Informa that he expects continued challenges, but a slightly less tumultuous year for the industry.

“The workers compensation sector has always struggled with retention, but this came to a head post the pandemic. Now that things have settled on that front, I do expect we will see an easing of earlier figures – but the industry certainly isn’t out of the water when it comes to retention. It still needs to focus on its employment conditions,” he said.

What employment conditions achieve the best outcomes?

While working from home continues to be a big topic across sectors, Andrew says workers’ compensation staff have a relatively fluid definition of flexibility.

“It’s all about how people work within their hours. What time they start and finish, how much they get to mix virtual work with their customer focused responsibilities. I expect that will continue to be important and that companies which brand themselves as flexible will be in higher demand.”

Meanwhile, salary expectations have slowed significantly since their 2023 peak and Andrew predicts stability in the year ahead.

“Of course salary will always be important in a sector with workforce shortages. But thankfully, demand is tapering off after 2023 – aka ‘the year of the salary review’.”

That said, some companies are still playing catch up after major industry players responded to prior survey findings.

“When the 2022 survey came out and revealed a need to review and keep on top of salaries, case manager salaries shot up a lot. Later, so did salaries for specialists and leadership roles. Companies that did not respond to those findings and kept their salaries intact are likely still behind employee expectations, even if the salary appetite is easing.”

Resilience matters, but so does wellbeing

Additionally, companies that take care of employee wellbeing as much as they seek resilient candidates will continue to do better on the retention front, Andrew predicts.

“One of the key reasons retention is low in workers compensation is that we see a lot of burnout. There are high expectations from frontline roles. People are dealing with challenging situations all day long, which can be emotionally taxing and stressful.

“For this reason, any employer will say resilience is a cornerstone trait to look for in a workers comp professional. It certainly is, but this isn’t just down to the employee. We need to make sure we have a psychologically safe workplace culture. Not just paying people more money, but making sure they are okay – reducing their caseloads if necessary and giving them good career development prospects.”

An early peak at the 2024 findings

This year, HAYLO People is seeking grittier insights from respondents, after listening to market feedback.

“We will be finding out people’s preferred employers throughout Australia and ranking them in order of desirability,” he said.

The survey will be conducted earlier than usual, and its initial findings presented at the flagship National Workers Compensation Summit, where Andrew is looking forward to sharing his predictions and Insights for 2024 to delegates.

“We have been early predictors of some major workforce shifts in the past and I expect this year will be no different,” he said.

Hear further insight from Andrew at the conference on 28 February – 1 March at the Novotel Melbourne on Collins.

Learn more and register your place here.

About HAYLO People

HAYLO People was founded in 2021 to address the lack of specialist personal injury / insurance recruiters. Since inception, Haylo’s team has grown with a presence nationally and supported over 350 people find their next role within workers compensation with a 94% six-monthly retention rate. In July, Haylo won three Sourcr awards, including 2023 Agency of The Year – Insurance.

About Andrew Smith

Andrew has over ten years’ experience in recruitment within insurance and personal injury, having worked within Hays, GIO/Suncorp and formerly Head of Talent Acquisition & Employee Experience at EML, successfully resourcing significant national scale-ups. He is now Director of Personal Injury Recruitment at HAYLO People and was awarded the 2023 Sourcr Best Insurance Recruiter Award in insurance in July.

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