Case Study

Restructuring further towards Technology

Admiral are an insurance company based in the UK, with over 10,000 employees across their 8 global offices. _nology’s initial interactions with Admiral were purely from a transactional recruitment angle – we found talent to fill their roles. We placed quality Software and Cloud Engineers into their Platform Engineering, Claims, Data & Analytics tribes, with tech stacks focused on Java and GCP. Some of them are now working towards becoming Guidewire Developer…

Luke Tooze

IT Programme Manager, Admiral Group

“The way _nology shaped their programme around our changing business needs and to fit in with our budget was nothing short of phenomenal.”

The Challenge

As the pandemic unfolded in 2020, Admiral put their teams first and decided to undertake an internal retraining of staff in order to lower redundancy rates. With many call centre workers unable to work from home, and without the need for as many staff due to advances in technology, Admiral wanted to prioritise employee wellbeing by enabling non-tech team members to retrain for roles within tech, which were far more secure throughout the pandemic. _nology offered the perfect solution – a way to gain tech team members without needing to make non-tech team members redundant.

A second challenge presented itself in 2021 – a distinct lack of highly-skilled Cloud Engineers. There has been an increasing demand for Cloud-trained technologists across the past 12-18 months, and Admiral had been struggling to find people with the necessary tech stack who would also contribute to their diverse culture. With the traditional transactional recruitment process not working for them, they came to us for a solution to the lack of diverse talent. 

Characteristics of our solution

Due to our existing relationship with Admiral, there was a seamless transition from transactional recruitment to the bespoke retraining course we ran in partnership with them. We launched a retraining programme, taking employees from non-tech roles within Admiral and upskilling them before placing them into Software Testing and Software Engineering roles available in the company. There were so many individuals in non-tech teams that were very interested in technology, despite having little or no existing tech skills or experience. 

All individuals retrained by _nology thrived during the course, likely due to their passion and interest in pursuing a new, more secure role with Admiral. We ran a 12-week course, turning people with undiscovered potential into high-performing, job-ready technologists. These individuals were already loyal to Admiral, with great brand awareness and proven compatibility with the company culture. This made the transition much easier, as well as offering a cost-effective solution for Admiral. 

In 2021, our continued relationship with Admiral led to a requirement for Cloud, DevOps, and Infrastructure experts to join their tech teams. Rather than focusing on a transactional recruitment model, we partnered with them to fill the roles through our _nology programme. Due to the huge industry demand, Admiral was struggling to find the right fit and were facing huge recruitment fees/ salaries. Rather than continue to look for talent, we decided to create it. 

In conjunction with our recruitment partners, Opus Talent Solutions, we set up a talent pipeline model. We supply Admiral with job-ready Junior Engineers and Developers, trained through _nology, with high diversity levels thanks to having an unlimited pool of non-tech potential that can be trained up in the necessary tech stack. This model starts with an 18-month placement, with the intention to convert the juniors to full-time, permanent employees. For every 2 juniors we place, we also place a senior (sourced through Opus) to continue mentoring them over a 6-month upskilling period. 

Following this model, in 2021, we placed Junior Cloud Engineers with Admiral, along with a Senior Cloud Engineer to provide ongoing support across a 6-month period. Everything works in tandem, so juniors and senior start at the time, offering a complete, cohesive solution. These ‘pods’ of junior: senior combinations are time-saving, cost-effective, and enhance the existing company culture at Admiral by maintaining their values of ongoing support and diversity. This is a cost-saving, retention-fuelling model that ensures diversity is kept at the heart of Admiral’s hiring process, and offers a sustainable pipeline of talent. 

Lidia Tronjanowska

L&D Lead, Admiral Group

“Thank you to everyone at _nology that helped make this training cohort a success, we’ve had some glowing feedback for the course once again.”

Outcomes and benefits

To combat Admiral’s challenges, we suggested a retraining programme – taking non-tech employees and upskilling them with the necessary tech stack to match their new roles. This would also allow for cost savings on new hires (marketing, advertising roles, recruitment fees etc), and allow them to retain staff and avoid redundancies during an already-challenging time for everyone.

We’re continuing to work with Admiral to build out further retraining programmes, essentially allowing for a sustainable pipeline of tech talent from within the company itself. This model offers huge longevity in terms of repurposing people in outdated roles who may otherwise have faced redundancy. We have gone beyond simply being a provider, and have become a true partner, with long-term plans to continue delivering what Admiral really need, in a managed, sustainable way. 

Gary Martin

Group Squad Lead, Platform Services Admiral

“The consultants have been like sponges over the last 6 months, absorbing everything we throw at them. Now we are at a stage where they are adding value to the Platforms team here at Admiral and making a real difference!”

Projected cost savings

The cost savings here are best measured against the fact that Admiral would have had to recruit externally in order to add to their tech headcount. With the average yearly tech salary for a junior role around £30k, plus any recruitment fees and other payroll payments, we can expect the recruitment alone to cost £50k per head. The senior will also be leaving after their 6-month period of training up the juniors in their ‘pod’, meaning Admiral will be paying half, if not less, for the price of the juniors – the savings on this, over a 3-year period, are at least £50k per head. At a glance, over a two-year period, the cost saving of the programme is in the region of half a million pounds.

Time to hire

Initially, we ran a retraining programme for Admiral’s non-tech employees, transitioning them into Software Testing and Software Engineering roles. The retraining period was a 5-month process from start to end, which was centred around internal mobility rather than a more traditional ‘hiring’ process.

We then ran another programme for them, placing Junior Cloud Engineers with them in 2021. In order to provide an ongoing pipeline of talent, we then placed a Senior Cloud Engineer within this existing team to continue upskilling the juniors. These placements had less than a 2-week turnaround, as our consultancy model allows us to deploy job-ready individuals almost immediately.

D&I Stats

Rather than simply looking for technologists already within the tech sector, which is widely known to be lacking in diversity, our model allows us to find people from all backgrounds and careers, meaning we’re searching a huge pool of diverse individuals. In this case, we were working with an already-diverse contact centre, making it easier to transfer individuals to new roles and ensure the wider tech team became more diverse as a result.

Our Cloud/ DevOps ‘pod’ approach consisted of juniors from ethnically diverse backgrounds, with no previous STEM education or experience. They have proven to be incredibly passionate about tech, and their senior has provided exceptional support, showing them the ropes and ensuring they are truly embedded into Admiral’s existing tech team.

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