Did you know the vast majority of agency principals and producers are over the age of 55?
That was part of the impetus behind a collaborative group of insurance carriers, trade associations and industry partners inviting the insurance community to join them in supporting the first-ever Insurance Careers Month to be held February 2016.
The reasons are three-fold:
1. The workforce is aging.
There are numerous studies on this issue, such as the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America’s 2014 Agency Universe Study, which showed 54 percent of principals/producers are older than 56, and 36 percent of principals/producers are 61 or older. In addition, the carrier side of our industry is feeling the pain of this issue.
2. There will be hundreds of thousands of jobs available.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), by 2022 the insurance industry will need to replace more than 295,000 actuaries, agents, analysts, claims adjusters, claims/policy clerks, software developers and underwriters.
3. There’s a shortage of candidates.
The unemployment rate in the insurance industry is 2.3 percent. With only 40 colleges and universities offering degrees in risk management and insurance, graduates from these programs can only fill 10 percent to 15 percent of the need.
Threat to the insurance industry
With a staggering number of job openings and more than a third of those working at agencies and carriers near or at retirement age, some could argue recruiting the next generation of insurance professionals is the No. 1 issue facing our industry.
This is why Insurance Careers Month was created, to develop a wider awareness around this issue and to work together to solve it.
This February will serve as the kick-off of a cross-industry, multi-phase initiative to raise awareness of the dynamic career opportunities in the risk management and insurance profession, and to recruit the next generation of industry leaders.
But the idea that we are entering a period when talent is leaving our industry and the pipeline to replenish it can’t keep up was identified several years ago. Many carriers have been addressing this issue for more than five years.
In addition, in 2012, the state of Ohio realized that there would be talent shortage and commissioned a study through Regionomics, which projected that there will be approximately 26,000 jobs available in the insurance industry in Ohio between then and 2020.
In response, a constituency of insurers based in Ohio formed a coalition of 13 leaders in government, insurance and higher education called the Insurance Industry Resource Council to start a career awareness program, Insuring Ohio Futures.
The goal of Insuring Ohio Futures is to engage students, career-changers and military veterans to raise awareness of educational and career opportunities in the insurance industry.
Here are some ways you can be involved with Insurance Careers Month and help recruit the next generation into the insurance industry:
1. Know your audience
The first thing you should do with any marketing campaign (and yes, this is a marketing campaign) is to know your audience. To attract the next generation, you’ll need to target millennials with your recruiting efforts. According to a 2015 article in Fortune, three of the most important things millennials want out of a job are:
A flexible schedule.
The opportunity to invest time acquiring the skills and knowledge they need to grow both personally and professionally.
A chance to become involved in social causes and to gain a sense of a wider purpose in their work, more so than previous generations.
To address these issues related to recruiting millennials, our company — Westfield Center, Ohio-based Westfield Insurance — has found offering employees benefits such as flex-time and work-from-home opportunities have proven successful in recruiting younger workers. Westfield also offer dozens of career and personal advancement courses to help employees increase their insurance acumen, develop interpersonal and leadership skills, explore stretch roles, etc. through Westfield University. In addition, Westfield provides the opportunity to volunteer for nonprofit organizations on company time.
2. Become part of the larger voice
Regardless of the size of your agency, there are ways for you to get involved. Joining the coalition that created Insurance Careers Month is a good start. Specifically, you can: