Growing Bermuda’s Talent
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Growing Talent: The Impact of International Business on Bermuda
As a vibrant, blue-chip jurisdiction with a proven track record of innovation, Bermuda has long been a magnet for business brainpower from all over the world. Homegrown talent, attracted by a vibrant international business culture, is increasingly coming to the fore in multiple industries.
Bermuda’s young people grow up very aware of the world of opportunity on their small island and learn early on to hone the skills that can open the door to a career in a global industry. They are helped on their professional path by industry bodies such as the Association of Bermuda International Companies (ABIC), the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) and Bermuda International Long Term Insurers and Reinsurers (BILTIR), as well as broad support from the Bermuda Government.
The role these enterprises play in educating and engaging Bermuda’s future business leaders cannot be understated, and the universal support they enjoy from the island’s international businesses and their executive leadership is a testament to that fact. Through educational initiatives, scholarships and community outreach, these organisations are showcasing the island’s incredible professional opportunities and empowering Bermuda’s young talent to get the most out of their careers.
Growth, Evolution and Opportunity.
Looking for opportunity, Kaisha Wilson, a legal trainee at Appleby, didn’t have to search far from home. While her fellow law students in the UK struggled to find real life work experience, she “always felt very supported”. That support ranged from receiving a university scholarship, help finding internships and summer employment while pursuing her degree, to employers “checking up on me when I was still in university.”
A quick Google search reveals the many graduate schemes on offer in Bermuda, including within Government, but it’s not just their number and variety that sets them apart from those found in other business jurisdictions. Overseas, if one is lucky enough to land a scarcely available internship, they are often disappointed by their lack of exposure to their company’s leadership. Bermuda is different in that its business culture is less attuned to hierarchy, and it is common for even the most junior employees of an organisation to enjoy frequent interaction with its executive leadership.
“You have an open floor plan with the CEO sitting across from you, easily accessible. It helps develop that hunger and drive.” – Amon Wedderburn
“You have an open floor plan with the CEO sitting across from you, easily accessible. It helps develop that hunger and drive,” said Amon Wedderburn, an underwriting trainee at Convex. “As a junior person, what makes a good culture is the ease of access to everyone. Where you feel that you can go to someone who is a technical assistant or an executive vice president and they will take the time to sit down and really engage with you.”
“There’s so much networking and connection. You can reach out to top lawyers – even the ministers or the Premier – and ask them for advice.” – Kaisha Wilson
Mentors can be found everywhere, you just have to ask, says Kaisha. She recalls reaching out to another lawyer for advice on how to update her CV. “She set up a Zoom call and we went over it together,” she said. “There’s so much networking and connection. You can reach out to top lawyers – even the ministers or the Premier – and ask them for advice.”
International Business plays a vital role in providing stability, economic growth and opportunities, but its impact to the community is proving to be far greater. As countries and communities look towards economic recovery, businesses are making themselves part of the solution to bridge the gap between education and employment. Through their knowledge, expertise, and international networks, executives can provide training, education and employment. As the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation in education and business, it provides even more opportunities as business models shift to address to the new realities.
“Each year you’re seeing graduates who are more accomplished than the previous years and international business is only getting more and more technical.” – Jevon Swan
“Each year you’re seeing graduates who are more accomplished than the previous years and international business is only getting more and more technical,” said Jevon Swan, an underwriting analyst at Renaissance Re, who followed his economics degree with a master’s in computer science. “To young people looking to enter the sector, I would recommend a solid base skillset that would include being extremely competent in excel and learning a programming language or two – I think those are the most useful skills in the current environment.”
He believes there are misconceptions about the industry that can make it seem intimidating but insists there is truly something for everyone. “It’s a vast industry with so many different classes of business – I’ve seen some really interesting deals in my time, from insuring mobile phones produced by Apple or providing insurance for massive sporting events like the World Cup,” he said.
“Growing up in Bermuda, you can’t avoid hearing how essential IB is to our economy. Each day we shadowed different jobs across the industry just to get a taste for the different roles.” – Kimika Jackson
Initiatives, such as the Bermuda Education Network Internship attract individuals whose talent and skills are an integral asset to the international business community. Kimika Jackson, an insurance assistant at Marsh credits the programme for opening her eyes to her own potential: “Growing up in Bermuda, you can’t avoid hearing how essential IB is to our economy. Each day we shadowed different jobs across the industry just to get a taste for the different roles. Playing the role of the underwriter, broker gave me a feel for what it was about. From there I recognised that the industry had a lot to offer.”
Commitment and Community
From Catlin’s End-to-End to Aspen’s Cupmatch, “It’s one of those things that’s always in front of you,” added Amon. Bermuda’s international business community was instrumental in bringing students home during the pandemic, continuing to employ and hire, while corporate social responsibility teams are finding ways to give back with meal drives and charitable donations.
“When you’re here, everyone tells you to go elsewhere. But when you’re elsewhere everyone tells you to come back down here,” Amon added. “When I was applying for jobs before graduation everyone asked me why I wanted to stay in New York or go to London when Bermuda is the hub of insurance and reinsurance.”
It’s promising to see the passion and drive enlivened by the international business sector. Of course, there is a massive bonus to equipping many more young people with skills and experience: It encourages individuals to lead more fulfilling careers and work-lives, and ensures organisations are supplied with desirable talent. Perhaps greatest of all, investing in the careers of Bermuda’s youth can tackle unemployment, not just an economic concern, but a public one too.