The next generation of insurance talent

08 December 2014 Warren Bolttler, Price Forbes
Price Forbes’s Gabriella Schoch and Sophie Maggs represent new talent in the insurance industry.

Price Forbes’s Gabriella Schoch and Sophie Maggs represent new talent in the insurance industry.

The insurance industry is on the cusp of a talent crisis as its workforce continues to “gray.” With nearly 50 percent of the industry’s workforce above the age of 45 it becomes clear that throughout the next 15 years, companies will be confronted with a growing skills gap as these professionals retire.

David Coons, senior vice president of The Jacobson Group, a global provider of talent to the insurance industry, says employers are finding themselves faced with a lack of incumbent talent to fill the pending skills gap and are unprepared to face an increasingly competitive recruitment marketplace.

Coons says the challenge for organisations is to focus on ways to engage and recruit young professionals and recent graduates.

Price Forbes CEO, Warren Bolttler, agrees saying there is a definite need to attract young professionals into the industry. He says education is the key to opening up opportunities. “I think we are starting to attract some really talented young people into the industry who never would have considered insurance in the past. The trick is to ensure they are sufficiently well-informed about the wide range of opportunities that the industry offers.”

Onsite recruitment fairs, internship programs and forging relationships with local education providers are the first steps the industry must take to develop awareness and to introduce insurance careers to the younger generations.

Bolttler also believes there needs to be a change in the way the industry is viewed. According to The Wall Street Journal, insurance ranks near the top of the list of least-desirable industries according to recent graduates. The image of the industry is that of one behind the times and offering little in terms of career development. As such, recruiting young talent is a challenge.

“We need to create an image that is both accessible and attractive to the next generation. Millennials want to make an impact, are tech savvy and believe that work is an expression of themselves. If we are to attract these young professionals we also need to create the right internal culture to fulfil these generational workplace preferences. We need to focus on fostering a collaborative environment, promoting mentorships, encouraging new and innovative ideas, and demonstrating social responsibility with volunteerism and community service projects,” says Bolttler.

Coons also points out that it is beneficial for companies to stay up-to-date with the latest technological advances required to ensure that employees are functioning at their highest level. “Social media is also a great way for organisations to build their brand and to display a positive image,” he says.

By embracing these megatrends, insurance companies are positioning themselves as forward-thinking and progressive — something that is sure to be noticed by the younger generations. The industry needs to be seen as edgy, modern, and trendy.

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