Millennials, also known as Gen Y, were born between 1982 and 1995 (or up to the year 2000 depending on the source). Millennials now represent 50% of the workforce, and by 2025, it’s estimated they’ll make up 75% of the workforce. The challenge for the insurance industry is attracting and retaining Millennials to fill positions left opened by retired Baby Boomers and accept new opportunities as the industry transforms to meet today’s consumer expectations. There simply aren’t enough Generation Xers (individuals between 40 and 54 years old) in the workforce to meet insurance staffing demands.
Unlike previous generations’ aspirations, an insurance career is not high on the wish list for the majority of Gen Yers. According to The Hartford, only four percent of Millennials in their study found insurance an “appealing” industry. Arts and entertainment and technology, not surprisingly, top the list.
It’s important to first understand the major characteristics that make up most Gen Yers so you can speak to their needs.
Millennials are not afraid to job-hop. Unlike their Baby Boomer parents who stayed with one or two companies throughout their careers, Millennials are hungry for new experiences and aren’t attached to their current role. Moreover, the stigma of job-hopping no longer exists as it once did with the Baby Boomer generation.
The Pew Research Center, in fact, finds that 30% of Millennials see themselves working for less than a year at their current company.
It’s important to note that Millennials don’t necessarily job-hop for more money. Often they look for other jobs, even if they pay less, when there is a mismatch with their current employer or a lack of positive work culture.
Millennials are also environmentally and socially conscious and are looking for a company whose value propositions are in sync with their own. They are more likely to leave if they find their company’s mission doesn’t match their values.
What Millennials Want
In order to attract and retain Millennials, companies should have a clear understanding of what this generation as a whole wants out of their careers:
- Career purpose: It’s important for Millennials to make a difference with the work they do, to accomplish something for the greater good.
- Career advances: A strong career path with professional development opportunities makes for an attractive offer.
- Competitive salaries: Millennials want a healthy compensation package that enables them to travel and enjoy different experiences.
- Work-life balance with flexible schedules: Millennials expect and demand flexibility, such as paid leave for a new baby and generous vacation time, along with the ability to work remotely. They have grown up in a digital culture, constantly connected to their peers and sharing information, which has spawned a generation that is increasingly collaborative and team-oriented. Because of the ability to be connected whenever and wherever they are, flexibility in work schedules and locations is key. They want to shape their jobs in a way that fits their daily lives.
- Competitive benefits: They are looking for benefits that go beyond health insurance, such as tuition reimbursement, a wellness program, flextime, child-care reimbursement, and retirement plans.
- Leadership opportunities: A path to leadership is among the key benefits Millennials seek in choosing an employer.
When looking to fill job opportunities, focus on the channels Millennials use. Find the right platforms and avenues and provide the right messaging. Approximately 86% of Millennials use social media and a growing percentage of people use their mobile devices to search for and apply to jobs, according to Monster.com. Also, tap into your own employees who are passionate about what they do for referrals.
Millennials view insurance as boring so it’s important to highlight the upside of the industry when advertising for a position and talking to candidates: travel, industry conferences, potential for repeat revenue (as an agency producer, for example), bonuses, professional training, leadership skill training, the ability to bring value to others by protecting what they have built, and the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of transforming the sector through technological advances.
Make sure to take into account what Millennials want in a career, as outlined earlier. By offering current career growth opportunities and advancement supported by a competitive salary and benefits, and the ability to achieve work-life balance, the insurance industry will enhance its efforts in attracting and retaining Millennials.