Zurich overhauls graduate hiring process to help candidates disadvantaged by lockdowns

By Jessica Durston - 9 September 2022


Zurich UK is changing its graduate hiring process to cater for generation covid after lockdowns scuppered young peoples’ chances to gain work experience.

The insurer Zurich UK says the lack of internships and work placements during the pandemic has left 'generation covid' graduates with less real-world experience than previous generations as they enter the jobs market.

The business adds that around a quarter of these young people now feel that they have been unable to gain the right employability skills during their studies.

With applications for graduates opening on the 12 September, Zurich UK says it has adapted its hiring process to ensure that these applicants are not penalised for having fewer life events to draw on in the assessment process.

To achieve this, competency-based interviews are said to have been scrapped in favour of strength-based assessments to ensure candidates from diverse backgrounds are not at a disadvantage.

In addition, the insurer says it will help to identify candidates who may not match criteria for one role but may be more suitable for another area of the business.

Zurich will also ensure that every applicant who takes part in the assessment process, successful or not, receives detailed feedback to help them on their journey. The bespoke report will aim to detail strengths and areas for development to help aid future job applications.

To support neurodiverse applicants, Zurich has also removed group interviews from its recruitment process, which it says can unfairly disadvantage these candidates. It is estimated that one in seven people have conditions that are linked with neurodiversity.

With its new hiring process, Zurich also aims to create a level playing field for graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds who may not have had the same opportunities to gain the same work and life experience as their peers.

The new graduate process will also offer candidates a new immersive online assessment, which has been developed with HR tech company and strengths experts, Cappfinity. This will aim to provide candidates with a realistic insight into what it’s like to work both within Zurich and the insurance industry.

Michelle Ransome, Zurich’s Head of Talent Acquisition said: “We really want to create a level-playing field for all graduates to ensure we genuinely attract the best person for every role.  Candidates from disadvantaged backgrounds, as well as recent graduates hit by lockdown, may not have had the same opportunities and life experiences as others.  

“We also know that people with neurodiverse conditions can bring a range of valuable skills to the workplace, and by adapting our recruitment process we can tap into a much wider source of talent.” 

Zurich’s actuarial team is also launching an industrial placement programme for 2023. Five graduates will complete a year in industry at Zurich in pricing and reserving. The conversion rate from the internship to the graduate scheme is high, at 82%.

Zurich is recruiting for 31 graduate roles and 21 internships across six areas: Business Management, Change and Technology Management, Actuarial, Finance, Data and Analytics and Sustainability. Roles are available across the UK including Swindon, London, Fareham, Glasgow and Birmingham.

Starting salaries for the graduate programme have increased from last year to £29,400, increasing to £32,550 for actuarial and data and analytics streams.

Applications for the 2023 graduate scheme will open on the 12 September and close on the 30 October 2022.


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