How can we encourage new and soon-to-be graduates to consider a career in insurance and motivate them to build long-term careers in the industry? Read on for some practical tips.
Five Ways to Entice New Graduates to Join the Industry
By Michael Wayne
More likely than not, your social media newsfeed, email inbox, and even snail-mail mailbox bring daily reminders that this is the season for graduations. Whether it be a college diploma ceremony or high schoolers making the leap from being seniors to once more starting at the bottom of life’s totem pole, across the nation thousands of young adults either are entering the workforce or are about to pursue more specialized education to do so in the near future.
If workers aren’t hanging around long enough for the veterans to mentor and teach them, they certainly won’t be around to instruct the next generation, or peers for that matter.
Like many industries, ours is experiencing a period of intense merger and acquisition activity. As agencies and carriers grow bigger, however, the number of employees is steadily declining—and that’s despite record hiring numbers as reported in GreatInsuranceJobs.com’s 2018 Insurance Industry Employment and Hiring Outlook Survey. The survey also revealed specific problems:
- Not enough experienced talent to keep up with new job openings
- Not enough experienced talent to replace retirees
- Not enough experienced talent to replace Millennial workers who are staying on the job for only 12 to 18 months
The repetitive theme in those bullet points is the lack of experienced talent. Although the second point is problematic on several levels, including the amount of institutional knowledge that is not being passed along, the bigger problem is that after a year to a year and a half, Millennials are leaving the industry. This creates an obvious dilemma: If workers aren’t hanging around long enough for the veterans to mentor and teach them, they certainly won’t be around to instruct the next generation, or peers for that matter. How can we encourage new and soon-to-be graduates to consider a career in insurance and motivate them to build long-term careers in the industry?
- Show them they can work with passion.
Skills are adaptable. For instance, an engineering student is undoubtedly a problem solver. Sounds a lot like a loss control specialist. Countless clients and prospects in organizations of every sort need someone to put eyes on their operations and figure out how to help reduce their risk and make them more efficient. Sounds a lot like an engineer. Take a minute to think about what positions in your organization require the soft skills of jobs from other walks of life.
- Explain that the industry thrives on diversity.
The world of insurance is vast and requires a diverse workforce that can communicate on many fronts. Collaboration is essential for any agency or organization to be successful. In today’s environment, as emerging markets play an ever-increasing role, diversity is essential to reach others on a personal level in relatable ways.
- Show them why insurance is not boring.
We all know that perception is reality, and the widely held perception is that insurance is a dull, unexciting industry. We knock on doors. We use hard-sell tactics. We do our best to maximize profits—even at the expense of our clients. Obviously this isn’t the case. The reality is that new and emerging risks require innovative thinking. Drones and driverless vehicles pose unique challenges that need to be addressed. Designing solutions for these and other technological exposures will not be boring.
- Talk about work-life balance.
The days are gone when insurance professionals are stuck behind a desk or forced to adhere to a 9 to 5 work schedule. In addition to meeting with prospects and clients, producers also have endless opportunities to collaborate with colleagues. Flex time and working from home are no longer foreign concepts in the insurance industry, and managers increasingly are realizing that a healthy work-life balance is a key ingredient in improving productivity.
- Emphasize leadership opportunities.
Technological advances continue to drive the evolution of all industries, including insurance, and we are living in a constantly changing digital world. Now is the time to encourage new graduates to address and resolve the issues that are affecting both organizations and individuals and to chart the future course of our industry.