Recent research conducted by Independent Governance Group (IGG) of in-demand skills and experience for future pension managerial roles, showed the difficulties of finding an individual that meets much of the current desired criteria for a pensions manager role at a pension fund. 

IGG found through a LinkedIn’s skills classification that over 158 skill requirements were listed across 40 advertised roles, falling into nine key categories. Beyond pension skills, communication and interpersonal skills were 22% of an ideal in-house hire, above financial expertise (12%) and technical proficiency (9%).

However, across the 40 roles, IGG has found that “not one vacancy referenced ESG or sustainability as a priority or consideration for candidates”. IGG added: “Only one advertised role, for an employer in the energy sector, included any mention of sustainable business practices.”

Cyber security was only mentioned in two of the roles, despite a time of high data protection warnings from The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

To avoid these features becoming a blind spot in hiring practices, TPR is issuing real consequences and recently fined ExxonMobil Pension Plan for failing to report on management and risks of climate change. 

Some of the firms’ most in-demand skills were communication, analytical ability, attention to detail, and problem solving. By contrast, the most unique or specialised skills included business continuity, restructuring, compliance auditing, and mentoring.

Clare Kember, head of outsourced governance services at IGG, noted the paradigm of increasingly widening skills and higher expectations for pensions managers now.

“Our findings demonstrate how modern pensions managers are required to be all things to all people, and how recruiters are competing for candidates in a narrowing talent pool,” she said.

On the importance of such surveying, she said: “With pensions playing a significant role in corporate decision-making, firms are increasingly likely to turn to specialist providers of outsourced governance services like IGG for deep technical and regulatory and insight.”

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