Insurance sector recruiters regard Millennials as ‘hot property’

18 November 2020 Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA)

The changing workforce and market dynamics are forcing many industries to recruit talent that can relate to their target customers, and today this often means millennials, says Kopano Radebe, Executive Manager: Professional Development at the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA).

IISA is an industry body whose primary responsibility is to promote the advancement of knowledge and skills, maintenance of the highest level of standards and ethics as well as the continuing professional development in the insurance sector.

Recruitment firm ideal. claims in a report that the average age of insurance agents is estimated to be around 59 years old. The report says this scenario has put the sector under enormous pressure to find new talent.

“The insurance industry is facing what’s been called a 'silver tsunami' of retirement,” says the ideal. report.

“It’s no surprise then that 58 percent of insurance companies plan to recruit and hire within the next 12 months.”

But millennials, both as employees or potential customers, respond to different incentives compared with their parents, cautions Radebe.

A report by KPMG stated that millennials are non-responsive to the traditional triggers to purchase insurance products.

The report says, “86 percent of insurance company CEOs state that they are concerned about the influence of these consumers”.

Radebe says insurers are, however, also keen to match their talent pipeline with their potential future customers. This will ensure their talent understands and can relate to their target audience.

“One of the most effective ways to target this younger consumer base is by recruiting millennials to service their peers,” says ideal.

According to a study by the Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development (ACORD), the global standards-setting body for the insurance industry, millennials represent around 40 percent of the workforce in many markets.

ACORD forecasts that millennials will make up to 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025.

“The current state of affairs means that there are huge career opportunities for millennials in the insurance sector,” says Radebe.

She says while millennials are "hot property" at the moment for insurance companies, not everyone will “fit the bill”.

“Companies are not going to settle for any candidate simply because they are of the right age and can relate to their target customers,” says Radebe.

“You still need to have a certain set of prerequisite skills beyond what you learned from the classroom.”

Meghan Greaves from specialist recruitment agency TalentEgg says successful candidates for placement in the insurance sector have to possess a specific set of skills.

These skills include communication, customer service and results orientation, teamwork and curiosity. Candidates are also expected to be quick learners and professional.

“Insurance is all about peace of mind. It is important that those working in the sector are seen as the professional they are,” says Greaves.

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