Confronted with a rapidly aging workforce, insurers are turning to millennials to meet their hiring needs. How are they reaching these younger workers?Employing 693,000 people over the age of 50, the insurance industry will soon confront a critical labor shortage. As that talent pool nears retirement, the industry will need to fill 400,000 job openings by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In response, the industry has strengthened its efforts to recruit millennials. Allstate, for example, launched a drive in October to recruit 600 entry level agents for various positions in the New York area. “About 50% of the knowledge base is set to retire in the next five years so there’s not enough young people coming into this business,” Allstate Territory Sales Leader for Upstate New York Josh Chapman told Insurance Business Magazine. He added that the insurer will help its incoming agents receive the instruction needed to secure their license.
Allstate is not alone in focusing its recruiting on millennials. State Farm Insurance is currently designing and constructing its newest offices in Dallas, Phoenix, and Atlanta with younger talent in mind.
State Farm spokesperson Dave Phillips told the Delaware Business Times that the company selected those cities because of their large millennial populations and thriving universities. “Our recruitment strategy is for all folks, but the hubs definitely focus on the millennials,” Phillips said. “They want to live near where they work and have a live-work-play lifestyle.”
In addition to these outreach efforts, more than 600 carriers, agents/brokers, trade associations, and other industry participants have banded together to form the Insurance Careers Movement to tout the benefits of an insurance career to young people. In February, the group sponsored its second annual Insurance Careers Month.
An Appealing Opportunity
When the Hartford conducted its 2015 Millennial Leadership Survey, it found that only 4% of young people viewed insurance as a viable career option. Once they start their careers, however, they’re overwhelmingly satisfied with the industry, according to a more recent survey from Vertafore.
Vertafore more than 3,500 insurance professionals for its “Millennials in Insurance” survey, including more than 1,550 people between the ages of 19 and 35. The results should encourage an industry in dire need of young talent: 86% of millennial respondents are confident that the industry can continue to attract young people, while 82% would personally recommend a career in insurance to their friends. Nearly 40% said a friend had recruited them to the field.
Even more encouraging, millennial insurance professionals view the industry as a long-term possibility. Nearly 70% said they had worked in the field for more than three years and intend to continue in the profession as long as possible.
As for millennials’ preferred positions, the greatest number of respondents work in account management or customer service (39%) and producer or sale roles (23%). In addition, over twice as many millennials serve as underwriters or adjusters than their baby boomers counterparts.
What Insurance Offers
Millennials ranked professional growth opportunities (63%), rate of compensation (55%), and work-life balance (50%) as the top benefits of a career in insurance. Not surprisingly, an overwhelming majority (78%) of millennials told Vertafore researchers that technology had increased their ability to efficiently do their job, and nearly 60% said they were satisfied with their company’s tech initiatives.
Millennials’ comfort with new tech tools becomes even more important as the industry grapples with new technologies like driverless cars, wearable tech, and the Internet of Things. The next generation of insurance professionals have already mastered many of these innovations that will radically reshape the industry.
“Between the strides made in technology adoption and the benefits that a career in insurance offers,” Ben Deda, Vertafore’s VP of marketing at Vertafore, explains, “young professionals are looking to insurance for lifelong careers.” The industry appears ready to welcome them.