Talent Crisis in the Insurance Industry Persists
The insurance industry has been discussing its talent crisis for years, with the call for a younger demographic to fill positions throughout the distribution system as the baby boomer generation retires. Industry insiders were calling for a concerted marketing push by insurers, MGAs, agencies and brokers, associations, schools, and others to rebrand the insurance sector as a great place to work.
The industry today, 10 to 15 years later, is still seeking new talent. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 500,000 insurance employees will retire soon. Furthermore, a survey conducted by The Institutes found that eight in 10 millennials have limited knowledge of insurance career opportunities.
In addition, the “Great Resignation” in the aftermath of the pandemic caused many to rethink their priorities and make some life-altering decisions, including career changes. In industries with low wages, employees have left in droves. In the insurance industry and other professional sectors, financial security and employee benefits no longer have the same gravitas they once had to attract talent.
Now comes the time to make insurance a career choice – one to which people are attracted – through marketing and educational efforts.
The Jacobson Group’s Semi-Annual U.S. Insurance Labor Market Study, which was released in August, shows that 95% of survey respondents plan to increase or maintain their head counts in the next 12 months. The Jacobson Group is a leading provider of talent to the insurance industry.
“Despite an increasingly difficult labor market, the majority of insurers plan to add to their teams in the coming year,” stated Gregory P. Jacobson, co-chief executive officer of The Jacobson Group, in the company’s press release. “The talent shortage persists, and we continue to see movement at all professional levels, making it critical for insurance leaders to be future-focused, flexible, and efficient in their hiring and retention efforts.”
The study revealed the following:
- 68% of carriers plan to increase staff in the next 12 months, a 12-point increase from the previous year, primarily precipitated by anticipated increases in business volume.
- Overall recruiting difficulty remains at its peak in the study’s 13-year history, with technology, actuarial, and analytics positions remaining the most difficult to fill. Almost half of businesses believe their ability to hire is worse than it was a year ago.
- Temporary staffing is also in high demand, with 96% of carriers planning to increase or maintain their use of temporary workers.
What Is the Industry Doing to Hire More Talent?
The industry sector is working on several fronts to attract new talent. Following is an overview of some of what’s going on:
- Proactive insurers, according to insights provided by PwC, are creating career paths for employees that build relevant skills in order to meet new market and business demands. High-performing employees, particularly younger ones, are intent on developing long-term skills. When deciding on a career path, they want to be able to do different and interesting things. Instead of having employees work their way up from the bottom, insurers are increasingly more intentional about upskilling – teaching employees new skills to expand their capabilities and move more easily to positions throughout the company. Forward-thinking insurers are creating rotations within and across functions, especially at junior levels, to create more diversity of experience.
- Agents, brokers, MGAs, and carriers are providing more flexible work environments. Many agents and brokers allow employees to come in a few times a week while increasingly more MGAs and carriers have employees across the country working remotely. The work-from-home dynamic became the norm during the height of the pandemic with many in our industry continuing to provide this flexibility as a way of retaining and attracting talent.
- Industry players are promoting the utilization of technology in their companies. A younger generation wants to know that the firm that it’s considering is tech advanced. Insurtechs and others are touting their platforms and desire to deliver products using cutting-edge technologies.
- Younger candidates also want to know about a company’s ethical investments and initiatives in diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DEI). Insurers are increasingly making their positions known and taking steps toward creating a more diverse and inclusive environment in their workplaces and throughout the industry.
S&P Market Intelligence shows modest improvement in diversity scores for the P&C industry in 2021 over the prior year. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), according to the S&P report, has launched efforts to identify issues and offer recommendations on the measures regulators and insurers can take to improve diversity in the industry.
The IICF Launches the Talent HubTM
Back in February 2022, the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) launched the IICF Talent HubTM, an online resource center for nontraditional job seekers to learn about insurance industry jobs and career opportunities. According to the IICF, the resource center includes access to job search tools, testimonials from industry employees, and a unique, new, insurance-only job board developed in collaboration with Indeed to view available job opportunities, post résumés, and apply for specific jobs. The IICF Talent HubTM will also serve as a clearinghouse for information on insurance industry scholarships, recruiting events, and other nonprofit resources like professional wardrobe assistance and interview preparation.
Additionally, the IICF Talent Hub will assist insurance carriers in attracting new talent and building a more diverse pipeline of job applicants. Insurers that participate will be able to post jobs and recruitment videos, as well as information about their company’s culture, ESG efforts, philanthropic initiatives, and other initiatives.
It’s important for everyone in the insurance distribution system to communicate the many benefits and rewards in pursuing an insurance career. Tell our story – one that will resonate with the younger generation. The industry is resilient and offers an opportunity for individuals to learn about many other industry sectors while also making a difference in communities.