When it comes to hiring new talent, not all industries are created equal. The insurance industry is facing a serious problem: how does the industry replace a workforce that’s fast approaching retirement when the next generation isn’t into insurance jobs?
PwC’s top issues annual report 2016 states “commercial insurers – like many other kinds of insurers – have an aging workforce and are facing an impending talent crunch. Automation cannot replace the qualitative judgment that is necessary for effective underwriting. Therefore, it is vital for insurers to develop a performance-driven culture that enables the recruitment, development, and retention of younger underwriting talent.” The same applies to much more than just underwriting. Automation can only go so far, so where will human talent come from?
The average age of an employee in the insurance industry todays is 59 and, with a lack of Gen X employees, it’s coming down to millennials to fill the void. However, a survey from The Hartford found only 4 percent of millennials interviewed are interested in pursuing a job in insurance. This number seems shockingly low, especially considering the insurance industry’s reputation for consistently offering competitive salaries, stability, a healthy work/life balance, and employee satisfaction, all qualities millennials say they’re looking for in a job.
So, what’s the problem with insurance?
It’s not lack of employee satisfaction or retention. Vertafore’s “Millennials in Insurance” 2018 survey, shows 72 percent of millennials in the insurance industry plan to stay in the industry. What’s more is 87 percent would go as far as to recommend a career in the industry to friends.
If it’s not the salary, job satisfaction, or job stability - what’s the issue? It probably has something to do with the fact that there’s nothing sexy about insurance. The industry is old, slow moving (outside of insurtech), and evokes the image of an older, tired workforce, sitting in an office and sorting through claims.
This perception of insurance as a boring industry with nothing exciting to offer professionally isn’t an accurate one. According to The Institutes, the insurance industry needs to fill at least 70,000 positions within the next few years - including in upper management. This, as well as the potential for insurtech companies to revitalize the industry, means there’s tremendous opportunity for professional growth and a stimulating, creative career. But that message is meaningless if the industry can’t change people’s perception on what a job in insurance is like.
Changing the Perception
What the industry needs is a PR makeover, and where this starts is in the hiring process. As Montoux’s Geoff Keast mentions in the video below, it’s sometimes easier to attract someone to a job and team rather than an industry. Montoux organizes jobs around clear, intellectually stimulating missions and goals, and this is clearly communicated in the hiring process. It also emphasizes the importance to teamwork, creating a “with” instead of “for” environment. Doing this gets potential hires excited about a position. Demonstrating how an individual can grow and contribute in areas like data science, sales, branding, software development, and marketing helps candidates envision themselves in that position.
It’s also important to remember that job hunters are, essentially, shopping for their ideal opportunity. An article by Fast Company said it best: marketers and recruiters need to play in the same sandbox. With tools like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, employees and employers have more control than ever before on the job search and hiring process. Ensuring these platforms reflect well on your company and communicate your brand effectively and attractively can go a long way when recruiting millennial employees.
Maybe the insurance industry is perceived as boring, but employees within the industry love their jobs, including millennials. The potential for professional growth, development, and stability is already a part of the industry, as well as competitive salaries and a great work/life balance. Communicating this in the hiring process or through existing employees and company channels is an important step in the right direction. This can help change the perception of insurance as a boring, old-fashioned industry to an innovative, stable, and multifaceted area to work in.
Geoff Keast, Montoux’s CEO of North America, explains his take on how Montoux approaches the issue of hiring in a boring industry in the video below. See what he has to say in his own words:
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