When you think of the insurance industry, the words “cool” or “sexy” might not immediately come to mind. Unfortunately, that perception has hindered many young, talented workers from seeing the value of insurance as a career path, and the industry recognizes something needs to be done.
It’s no longer enough to simply provide stable job opportunities; it is now crucial to find a way to make insurance relevant to a new breed of employees. More diverse than ever before, the next generation of workers differs with regards to age, gender, cultural backgrounds, skill sets and working styles. Studies have proven that they crave innovation, independence and flexibility, gravitating toward companies like Google and Facebook that have built empires around those same principles.
While the first step is to attract that top talent, the changes the industry needs to make do not end there. It’s not just about finding the right talent, but accommodating that talent when they arrive. How do we make insurance relevant and exciting to this incoming class — a workforce that is also more diverse than ever before?
One of the biggest reasons behind why the industry needs to attract fresh, diverse talent is because it will soon be losing of a good chunk of its workforce. According to a survey from The Institutes, 50 percent of current insurance workers are nearing retirement age while half of the total workforce will consist of millennials by the year 2020. Of this group, only 5 percent are interested in an insurance career and an overwhelming 44% thinks the insurance industry sounds “boring.”
Millennials, or those born between the years 1980 and 1996, are currently the largest generation in the U.S., even surpassing the baby boomers. According to a recent outlook from Applied Systems Inc., there are nearly 77 million millennials in the U.S. with an average household income of $60,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. They are also the most educated generation, with nearly 1 in 4 holding at least a bachelor’s degree. They are motivated, bright and hungry for jobs that can give them purpose, and are increasingly less of a monolithic force than previous generations. They will undoubtedly become the largest customer base as well, so having employees of the same generation and mindset will be invaluable. It’s important to note, however, that millennials come from a variety of backgrounds, ensuring that no matter what insurance does to attract and retain them, diversity has to be top of mind at all times.