Unless you’ve been hidden away in isolation somewhere for the last few years, it probably hasn’t escaped your attention that the employment landscape has changed considerably recently. There are many reasons for these changes and many factors involved. For starters, we are now Working With Five Generations In The Workplace. But it’s not just who is in the workplace that is important, it’s how we work too.
The Gig Economy is changing the way we work and the way we think about work. But, whatever the changes might be, you can rest assured that one group of people will never be too far from the discussion – the millennials.
The shifting demographics of the workforce
Until recently, we would see three (sometimes four) generations working together in the workplace, but now as people live and work for longer, five generations will become the norm in many sectors.
The importance and the influence of the millennials as a generational category should not be underestimated or understated. By 2020, it is estimated that millennials will account for 50% of the world’s entire workforce. By 2025, that figure could rise to as much 75%. The presence of the millennials in the workforce is felt in all sectors, and the insurance industry is no exception.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 400,000 employees will retire from the insurance sector workforce in the coming years. PwC’s annual report covering top issues warned in 2016 that the insurance industry faces a particular set of circumstances and challenges. The aging workforce could lead to a real talent shortfall and a significant knowledge drain as these workers retire. While automation may take the place for some of these retirees, it cannot truly be a substitute for the necessary underwriting skills, client advisory skills and confidence in qualitative judgment that the insurance industry and clients of all industry sectors depends on and requires.
The insurance industry is certainly not alone in the revolution that is taking shape with the employment landscape. Many employers, across many sectors, are worryingly unprepared for the realities of dealing with an aging workforce.
However, within the insurance sector, the potential problems could be even greater. Studies have shown that the insurance industry doesn’t hold much appeal for millennials. Therefore, the industry needs to take significant steps to create a culture that serves to recruit, develop and retain the best young talent.
With millennials so important to the future, all industries and sectors need to adjust their messaging and appeal to this vital group. Insurance companies, brokers and related firms that can effectively recruit, train and retain will differentiate themselves from the competition and lay the foundations for a successful future. Those that don’t will be putting themselves at a competitive disadvantage.
The need to adapt and evolve has seen some insurers making changes to their recruitment and interview processes. The use of employee videos and chat features on websites, and the greater overall use of social media has enabled companies to be more proactive, to achieve a broader reach, and to interact successfully with potential recruits. There will likely be more innovative and creative branding and marketing campaigns in the days, weeks and months to come.
But with 400,000 open positions in the insurance industry expected by 2020, companies need to do much more than simply making tweaks to existing processes in order to appeal to a younger generation. Millennials will be the future of the insurance industry and as an industry we all need to work together towards the common goal of improving the overall brand of insurance as a viable, interesting, challenging and financially rewarding career choice.
Aspiring, future leaders need to hear and learn about the insurance industry long before they graduate college. There has to be much more outreach beyond the 60+ colleges and universities currently offering insurance and risk management degrees to draw more people into the field.
Aspiring professionals are often times completely unfamiliar with the various roles and challenges that exist within the insurance industry and the overall insurance risk management profession. More than ever, recruiters (both internal as well as external) need to be marketers and brand ambassadors as well. In short, we all need to do more if we are going to attract the requisite number of people to fill the upcoming vacancies. The current number of students graduating with degrees in insurance related fields is only expected to provide about 10% of the necessary hires.
- Is this a topic of discussion in your organization?
- Are you getting out in front of this issue or are you playing the wait and see game?
The answer could well determine whether or not your organization survives and thrives in the years to come.