Do employers need to be more agile in their search for new talent? Barbara Schönhofer lists the questions all recruiters should be asking themselves.

The insurance and reinsurance industry has been able to attract new and diverse talent to risk management over the last few years. Individuals with the capability to manage across technical and functional disciplines have been recruited and the post-subprime environment will place an even higher premium on their skills.

However, business leaders need to act now to ensure the industry continues to become more professional in its approach to risk management.

Attracting top graduates remains an issue for the industry and in order to continue to prosper, firms must be prepared to take more risks in the way they approach recruitment and talent development. The central concern is whether the industry is anticipating the need to take positive action now to exploit future opportunities.

Managing complex organisations requires a mix of technical skills and personal savvy, which has been reflected in a more rigorous approach to identifying skill requirements.

When it comes to recruitment, companies will need to be nimble, flexible and proactive. Our most recent findings suggest that business leaders should be taking a closer look at their HR strategies and asking themselves:

• Can we truly reflect client needs? Do we allow clients to work across boundaries and between cultures?

• How well do we embrace diversity in all its facets? Do we recognise that innovation flourishes in a diverse environment?

• Are we more interested in output from our people or in clock watching? Are our recruitment and retention strategies recognising the changing expectations people have of their working life? Do we see flexible working arrangements (for example) as an impediment rather than an opportunity?

• How proud are we of our business? Is our organisation self-effacing rather than being justifiably proud of its achievements and ambition? Do we appeal to plodders or pioneers?

• Do we proactively support new senior level hires to early successes? And is the notion that accelerating the “on boarding” of a senior new hire from a different organisation and/or sector through executive coaching seen as a weakness rather than leveraging an asset?

Organisations that acknowledge there is room for progress in each of these areas are the ones most likely to attract, retain and develop the best people, create shareholder value and deliver success.