How COVID-19 Has Impacted the Insurance Talent Shortage

The insurance industry has been known for its talent shortage and its difficulty in attracting Millennials and now Generation Z as veteran employees retire. The industry over the years has undertaken various programs, campaigns, and career days at schools along with offering summer internships to highlight the many benefits and rewards of working as an insurance professional – from job stability to career advancement, competitive salaries, work-life balance, and flexibility, and more.

The Insurance Job Market Amid COVID

Unlike many industry segments (from airlines to hospitality, entertainment, retail, real estate and others) that have had to furlough or lay off thousands of employees due to mandated state closures and lockdowns, the insurance industry has shown its resilience in the face of the pandemic – a real bright spot to anyone starting out in the job market or looking for a career move. In fact, an April survey conducted by Willis Towers Watson showed that no insurers at that time were planning to implement a mandatory furlough or leave program while 16% of businesses in the general industry sector had already implemented a furlough plan, with another 28% considering taking such action. The number of unemployed in April surged to 23.1 million.

Furthermore, while some in the insurance industry implemented a hiring freeze or delayed start dates, many preferred workforce reallocation to reduction and increased training opportunities to help employees reskill to a greater degree than general industry. The insurance industry also adapted well to the shift to work-from-home and, for the most part, still has most of its employees working remotely.

Bottom line: The insurance sector is well-positioned to attract a new wave of recruits coming from other industries as an aging population retires, and is poised to bring in skilled workers that can help the industry address its weak spots, including leveraging technology to elevate and transform the customer insurance experience.

Getting New Talent During a Pandemic

A survey conducted in April by the Jacobson Group and Aon showed that 61% of insurers and reinsurers planned to increase staff in 2020 with technology, accounting, analytics, claims and sales and marketing roles the top positions.  How do you find individuals to fill these positions today?

One option is to attract college students who chose to take a gap year off while universities are only offering online classes, eliminating the whole college experience. Many chose not to pay hefty university fees to take courses online while sitting in their bedrooms at home. These recruits could end up being your next great employees even when they resume their college studies – perhaps even online as they gain a taste of rewarding and fulfilling employment. Or, they can be used to perform special projects that may not get done otherwise. For example, Gen Zers can launch new email campaigns, or help convert a legacy database to a cloud-based solution. They are tech-savvy (a skill the insurance industry needs) and social-media experts and can add real value to a business. In addition, remote work comes easy for them – critical in today’s new environment.

Boost efforts to approach fourth-year college students to tap into new talent. Tout the stability and strength of the insurance industry as well as its commitment to innovation.

With so many unemployed and the need for tech-savvy employees, the insurance industry is working hard to reach Millennials looking for the financial security and opportunities that come with the insurance sector. The industry is experiencing accelerated change with product innovation, InsurTech, digital transformation and new technology such as AI and analytics, all attractive to younger generations.. The pandemic has impacted so many individuals but the labor market in the insurance industry continues to be strong, with many opportunities available for new talent looking for stability and purpose.