How Insurance Can Recruit the Next Generation of Talent

We’ve been talking about it for years, yet the problem still exists: Our industry needs more talented workers to join its ranks, with the skills to help solve increasingly complex business problems.

According to a recent survey of insurers, 95% currently have job openings, and 56% are planning to hire more than 50 employees within the next year. Add to this the challenges of an aging workforce. Approximately 25% of insurance professionals are expected to retire in the next several years, which will leave nearly half a million job vacancies by 2020.

The dual challenges of an aging workforce and a need for more talent are particularly acute with insurance agents and brokers. According to McKinsey & Co., the average insurance agent is 59 years old. Meanwhile, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that employment of insurance sales agents will increase 10% faster than most occupations by 2026, resulting in almost 50,000 new jobs.

Clearly, the insurance industry must look to the upcoming generation of workers to bridge a widening talent gap. However, locking down millennial talent for the long haul has proven to be a difficult task for many businesses.

For starters, this group maintains a completely different set of values than their predecessors. They’re also not afraid to change jobs if they’re left feeling unfulfilled. Gallup recently dubbed millennials the “job-hopping generation,” given that 21% of millennials have changed jobs within the past year. Gallup also reported that 60% of millennials are open to changing their career, but with the caveat that it must be a better opportunity.

Insurance companies that want to close the talent gap need to step up their recruiting game in order to effectively target, land and retain millennial talent. Here are a few ways to grow a robust pipeline of young talent:

No. 1: Promote corporate citizenship.

Roughly 64% of millennials say they wouldn’t take a job if the company didn’t practice corporate responsibility, and 88% of millennials say that a job is more fulfilling when employers provide opportunities for them to make a positive impact.

To attract millennial applicants, companies must make a stronger commitment to their communities and their employees’ involvement by rolling out voluntary community service initiatives. But just encouraging participation isn’t enough. Insurance companies must make community service part of their culture, and carve time out of the workday for employee participation.

No. 2: Provide career growth and development opportunities.

While millennials often have a reputation for “job hopping,” 59% of millennials in a recent survey had been in their current job for more than three years. Approximately 86% of millennials said that providing career training and development would keep them from leaving their job. As noted above, the insurance industry has no shortage of seasoned professionals, who are often eager to pass on their wisdom to junior employees.

By instituting structured mentorship programs, insurance companies can create a pathway to prosperity for their younger workers that leaves them satisfied with their careers in the process. Sending younger workers to industry conferences and providing developmental learning programs will also encourage personal growth and make them feel valued.

No. 3: Establish a strong corporate culture.

Millennials value the culture that they experience at work. They want to feel engaged with their coworkers and enjoy their working environments. However, many corporations today aren’t building corporate cultures that resonate with this generation, considering a Gallup survey showed that only 29% of millennials feel engaged at work.

The insurance industry has an opportunity to differentiate itself from the sea of corporate culture sameness by adding team-building events, activities and contests for employees, and morale-boosting reward systems to help increase engagement. Along with the greater employee satisfaction these efforts can produce, these additions can even benefit the company’s financials. Approximately 50% of c-suite executives say that corporate culture influences productivity, creativity, profitability, firm value and growth rates.

No. 4: Embrace technology.

It’s widely known that technology – from telematics and big data to drones and mobile customers apps – is revolutionizing insurance. Insurance companies looking to incorporate more technology into their business need a younger generation of talent to help envision, build, and implement it, and can use this need as a selling point for recruitment. It’s no secret that younger generations have an affinity for technology in their daily careers. The insurance industry needs to promote its need for tech talent and recruit with this angle in mind.

By bringing drones, telematics, other analytics demo devices to career fairs, adopting a more modern-looking brand and developing the sleekest customer applications on the market, insurance companies can better align themselves with a technology-forward image that’s attractive to young applicants.

The insurance industry must position itself as a desirable destination for younger talent if it wishes to survive this talent crisis. Millennials can fill the industry need for fresh talent, but employers need to look inward and disrupt their own policies, culture, and recruiting efforts in ways that will fit this new set of needs.

Article By: Mary Ann Cook, CPCU

Source: Property Casualty 360