You can’t fill all the seats in a growing organization from a shrinking pool of professionals – so what is the industry to do?
The insurance industry is facing a significant problem: experienced insurance talent is increasingly elusive. As a sector with a below average unemployment rate, finding or replacing great employees has always been a challenge. However, when you add to that the 2021 projections that 50% of the insurance workforce will retire within 15 years, leaving 400,000 empty positions, we can see that the hiring challenge is about to get much more difficult.
Time to explore new options.
First, organizations can adopt more technology and automate more processes. We’re in a high-touch industry though, so as a stand-alone solution, it’s not enough.
Second, insurance companies can partner with specialized insurance recruiting firms to strengthen their ability to find and fight for the increasingly hard to find industry pros.
That said, you still can’t fill all the seats in a growing organization from a shrinking pool of professionals.
That leads to option three: aggressively recruit more early career individuals AND candidates from outside insurance, beginning with adjacent industries.
Currently, only 4% of open positions are being filled by candidates who are new to the industry. Numbers-wise, and despite the meaningful challenges involved in hiring people who are brand new to insurance, that number must increase if the industry is going to sustain itself and continue to grow.
So, the evergreen important question is: how should firms go about attracting talent to an admittedly often misunderstood industry? A few things to consider focusing on when developing a talent attraction plan for this segment of new talent include:
1 – An Abundance of Opportunities
Focus on the wide variety of opportunities that the industry offers. Most people know little about what the industry actually involves. Their only contact with insurance companies is their local home and auto agent, so they often have no idea how much career variety exists within the industry.
2 – Job Security
The industry is on a strong trajectory, projected to grow by 6% through 2031. In addition, the insurance sector has a below-average unemployment rate compared with the economy at large. That means, unlike some popular industries like tech, the insurance should be a safe place for professionals to build stable, long-term careers.
3 – Meaningful Work
The field of insurance offers meaningful careers. Harvard Business Review published an article in 2018 with some startling numbers: “More than 9 out of 10 employees. . . are willing to trade a percentage of their lifetime earnings for greater meaning at work. Across age and salary groups, workers want meaningful work badly enough that they’re willing to pay for it.”
That’s a good thing for the insurance industry. As Mike Jackowski, CEO of Duck Creek, said in a 2021 Forbes article, “Working in this industry is an avenue toward a higher purpose: protecting people and property from risk, serving people in their times of need, and allowing more and more entrepreneurs. . . . to start their own businesses with confidence.”
4 – Social Responsibility
Insurance organizations have long been actively involved in improving their communities. In a time when people are looking for action around social responsibility, rather than just empty virtue signaling, the insurance industry is notable for its consistent investment in enriching lives and communities.
CBIZ, Inc., a publicly traded management consulting and insurance company, notes that Gen Z – individuals born between 1995 and 2010 – are deeply concerned about companies’ “ethics, practices, and social impacts.” Since they will comprise over 50% of the workforce by 2030, the importance of social responsibility in attracting the younger talent our industry needs will only increase.
5 – Paths for Career Advancement
Gone are the days when it was common for employees to work the same job for 20+ years. A report published by LinkedIn in 2022 noted that a defined path to career advancement and the chance to build new skills are within the top 5 criteria (ranked by importance) that candidates use to evaluate employment opportunities. Many insurance organizations already have the infrastructure and programming in place to offer candidates long-term career growth opportunities.
6 – Competitive Pay
Finally, as we all know, compensation is key. Luckily, even entry level jobs in the insurance industry generally pay a rate above similar entry level positions in many other industries. That tells a compelling story to a prospective employee looking to establish themself both professionally and financially.
While the insurance industry is facing a growing demographics-driven recruiting challenge, it also has a lot working in its favor. By showcasing the significant benefits of a career in the insurance industry, firms can successfully compete for up-and-coming talent and peel off talented professionals from other industries.
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