Isio - Isla Cullen - Pension Services Assistant

1st August 2023

Isla Cullen

Company: Isio
Job Title: Pension Services Assistant
Job Location: Edinburgh
University: Heriot Watt University
University Course: International Business Management

Why did you choose this profession?
To be honest pensions was not a profession I had considered until the opportunity to join arose. Throughout my time at university, I had looked at various aspects of business, but pensions was something I had not touched on really and my knowledge of the profession was not very vast, but the opportunity to work and learn that isio was going to provide was enough to convince me to take the opportunity that was in front of me. So, I just ‘fell’ into pensions and so far, it has been the right choice.

What attracted you to your role?
One of the main aspects that attracted me was Isio as a company. I had the opportunity to conduct in depth research to many big companies (fortune 500) as well as some smaller ones when studying. Through that I knew what I didn’t want from a company and Isio ticked all the boxes for what I did want. The support network within the company to grow and learn played a big part in my decision, I was freshly out of university and found myself in a position where I had an opportunity to work in a profession that has a lot of growth potential and for a company that would support professional growth, provide opportunity for further academic qualifications within pensions all well caring about the wellbeing of their employees.

How did you get your job at Isio?
During university I had set up a LinkedIn account to help with some course work then just forgot about it until close to graduating. I decided to use it as my main way to look for jobs and find out more about which companies were recruiting. I updated my profile to include my CV, my degree and set it to looking for work. 

Like many graduates I applied to lots of different companies and never heard anything back. Then one day I received a message on LinkedIn from a recruiter for isio saying they had a job that I could be a good candidate for. 

After a bit of back and forth with the recruiter and a short phone call later I had an interview booked for just a couple of days later. The day after my interview I got the call I had the job. For me it was a very quick and smooth process.

What are your main duties?
My role deals directly with members either by phone or email. My day can consist of logging varies queries that have been sent in by post or email, with majority of my time working through cases answering those queries. Usually this would look like, retirement quotes and settlements, CETVs, updating and settling records after a member’s death. There are other aspects covered but the ones mentioned are the cases I come across the most. 

Is it a 9-5 job?
Yes 9-5 Monday-Friday is your typical working week. Isio are flexible with your lunch break if you need to move it either earlier or later on the odd occasion to fit it around other commitments, such as medical appointments. 

What skills are useful in this profession?
Be understanding, and compassionate. Being a good listener is also beneficial to the role. Some of the cases I deal with come with a lot of sensitivity and at the end of the day, we are handling the means to members' livelihood. 

Being a good problem solver comes in useful on more complicated cases that involve a bit of digging into older correspondence.

Do you have any advice for anyone wanting to enter the profession?
I would say the same as what many people told me when I started at Isio. Most people don’t plan for a career in pensions but 20/30/40 years later they are still here and enjoying their job. Take the opportunity when it comes and be willing to learn and ask questions but also remember there’s no way to learn a whole profession or even part of it overnight, don’t put pressure on yourself to know everything straight away it all comes together over time.

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