The talent crisis within the insurance industry is not to be taken lightly. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, almost 500,000 insurance employees will retire soon, and a survey by The Institutes found that eight in 10 millennials have limited knowledge of insurance career opportunities.

By appealing to younger generations, creating an innovative and diverse workplace and reskilling current employees, the current talent gap facing the industry can be reduced.

Underlying causes

In our inflationary economy, young people are delaying the purchase of houses and cars. They tend to have little excess funds to spend on insurance products beyond basic policies required for renting. Many young people also don’t have the exposure to insurance that older generations may have, resulting in a rapidly declining insurance workforce.

In addition, some insurance companies neglect to update their recruiting strategies. Businesses rarely hesitate to develop new ways to market or expand their insurance product. However, it is now imperative that the industry tackle the workforce issue with the same tenacity to avoid disrupting the insurance market. The increasingly competitive talent market, now with fewer people available to work, means the expenses associated with hiring only continue to increase. These expenses can negatively impact other aspects of a company’s business.

Strategies to consider

Recruitment. Adjusting how the industry connects with young people is crucial in attracting talent. Embracing technology is also key. In an increasingly digitalized world, being vigilant about taking advantage of new technologies, including social media and mobile apps, to attract young people is one of the most effective ways to close the talent gap.

Advertising insurance careers to students even younger than college-age is also gaining momentum. Dedicating more time to recruiting at local high schools or career fair events could go a long way in securing future employees.

Reskilling current employees. Another way to decrease the talent gap is to reskill existing employees, rather than simply hiring new ones. By reskilling current employees in technology, companies across the industry could fill some of their vacant positions without the need for outside hiring. By designing a strategy that values human capital and takes advantage of existing talent resources, insurers can spend less on new talent and more on ensuring profitability.

Embracing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. The more effort businesses put into cultivating and supporting a diverse workforce, the more successful they are. Today’s diversity initiatives should be less about percentage “targets” for a underrepresented groups and more about encouraging minorities to apply for jobs or work their way up through the company ranks.

When minority employees feel they are in an accepting and inspiring environment, business productivity increases and individual from underrepresented groups are more likely to go after senior positions.

Adapting to a changing workplace. The typical office workplace has changed tremendously since 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been a notable increase in remote work, with many companies not returning to a completely in-person office set up. Insurance companies have an opportunity to reinvent roles and attract talent by advertising the willingness to be adaptable for the sake of employee health and safety, which is very attractive to prospective employees.

Identifying additional talent pipelines. Finally, prioritizing intern recruitment techniques as well as constantly improving internship experiences for young professionals can secure a consistent inflow of new employees to replace the ones retiring, as interns are prime candidates for open full-time positions.

Rylie Mooney is a junior Mathematics major at the University of North Texas with a concentration in actuarial science and minor in risk management and insurance. Mooney was a winner of the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association’s Spring 2022 White Paper Contest. This article, from PropertyCasualty360.com, is an abridged version of work that first published at wsia.org.

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