Industry Insights with Mark De Lacy

‘Mark joined Highams in 1990 as a recruiter of IT professionals specialising in the Life and Pensions sector. As Sales Director Mark leads from the front, focusing on new client engagement and delivery of the quality services that Highams is known for’.

1. Could you give us a quick overview on your background and how you got into Recruitment?

 I joined Highams in 1990 as a Sales Consultant specialising in Perm & Contract placements in the Life & Pensions sector. Over the years we have worked with a great range of clients, in the early days supplying platform skills in Capsil, Paxus Life, and Life70/400  through to today, where the platforms are now a mix from GBST Composer to Sapiens/ Capita platform solutions and digital applications for customer self-service portals.

2.    Could you tell us a bit about your team and the specialisations within your team?

I work closely with Susan Browne who joined Highams in 1997, specialising in applicant sourcing and management within the Life and Pensions sector. 

 3.    What do you enjoy most about specialising in the L&P?

It is great to have that continuity of contact, where relationship management is key and we have a distinct advantage given the depth of our knowledge of the L&P sector which our clients recognise and makes us stand out from the crowd.

4. What is your favourite thing about being a Sales Director at Highams?

I really like to see our clients benefit from the immense experience, market knowledge and extensive candidate networks that our team has built over the past 30 years. We are always attracting new talent within the Insurance, Wealth and Pensions sectors and ensure that our candidates are knowledgeable with excellent stakeholder skills to bring added value within their roles.

5.    What’s the most exciting thing about hiring candidates for jobs within the L&P sector?

Using the industry knowledge we have developed over the past 30 years to find candidates with the particular blend of business and technical expertise that the client needs.

6.    What would you say a typical day looks like within your job role?

Busy Busy Busy – no day is ever the same, but that’s what makes it interesting and has kept me working in recruitment for so many years.It is so rewarding to help candidates fulfil their potential whilst helping clients to build a high performing team.

7.    What would you say are the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your role?  

We value direct contact with hiring managers who are the owners of a role, something which has been increasingly challenged through the introduction of in-house recruiters, or the appointment of an RPO.  

We have had to evolve the way we work and interact with our clients to ensure that their understanding of Highams and the specialist nature of our business is not diluted.   

8. What advice have you been given throughout the company that has helped you achieve your personal goals?

Always persevere and never give up on roles, understand your clients and the changes that are happening within your sectors. This gives you the edge on more generalist recruiters.

9.    What are the key skills that you think you need to be a successful consultant?

I think drive and self-motivation to achieve your goals will always see you through to a successful outcome.

10.  What would be your words of wisdom for someone who is looking to get into the Recruitment Industry?

 Do your research, identify what sector appeals to you and start approaching the best recruitment business in that sector.

11. What are some of the challenges your clients are facing? 

Our clients across all our sectors share some common challenges.

  • Ensuring products are accessible to customers via digital capability and distribution channels.
  • Having detailed management and business data available for strategic change.
  • Speeding up Claims and customer servicing.

12. What types of transformation programmes are your clients currently undertaking? 

Our clients have seen huge challenges in meeting change:

  • The need for better customer advice and operating under increased regulation.
  • The requirement for improved customer self-service hubs and information, the ability to make choices and easy access to funds for new investment.
  • The execution of documentation and contracts easily and effectively for customers. 

Many clients have turned to digitalisation of their processes and created omni-channel distribution for their customers. Whilst others have turned to new platforms and environments to embrace the changes sweeping the sector.


Connect with @Mark De Lacy on LinkedIn and follow the @Highams LinkedIn page to keep up-to-date.