How to upskill talent to become the leaders of tomorrow
Q: “How did you get into insurance?” A: “Ah I just fell into it really” said the majority of people currently employed in the insurance sector. But if the industry is to attract the next generation of talent and become the diverse and inclusive place it strives to be, this will have to change.
The industry should be viewed as a profession similar to law or accountancy, one that students or school leavers earmark as their career of choice. Currently, just 7% of millennials express an interest in joining the insurance sector, which given that 75% of the global workforce are millennials is a concerning statistic. The other concerning trend is the fact that 25% of insurance professionals are predicted to retire in the next three years. The industry could be faced with a depleting workforce and a challenge attracting new talent.
Whether you like it or not, the perception of insurance from the outside is one of staid and stuffy, perhaps being hampered by its traditional values of modesty and discretion. It is seen as an old fashioned industry facing stiff competition from other industries offering clearly defined career paths. It’s not an industry that shouts about its benefits, Scott Heyhoe, Director of Solution Management at Questback argues it is possibly “the best kept secret in the job market”
So what can the sector do to reverse this view and attract talent equipped for the future demands of the industry?
Expand educational and professional experience expectations
Organisations are going to need to think differently about how they want an employee to contribute, what skills are going to be important for the future and where they go to attract the right talent.
Traditionally, the insurance sector hasn’t been visible in schools and colleges, educating school and college leavers about insurance and what it really involves whilst also imparting the benefits of joining the sector. But it is important for the growth and innovation of the industry that these places become standard venues to find and attract quality new talent.
The graduate versus the non-graduate; currently there is roughly a 50:50 split between the two. Historically businesses have focused on providing graduate training schemes, but they are potentially missing a trick, there is plenty of untapped talent that didn’t take the university route. Owen Thomas, Director of Global Risk Solutions at RSA maintains “A 50:50 split is no bad thing, you can’t get a diverse and inclusive work force unless you hire from diverse and inclusive backgrounds.”
The Apprenticeship; the industry is working hard to dispel the perception that they are less prestigious, they are no longer viewed as a second rate option.
The Apprenticeship is no longer just for new starters, young people, or trades but is available at any age for any course up to degree level and can be completed at any point in your career.
These changes are so important, they provide significant opportunities for those individuals seeking a different route to qualification and indeed a profession. It also provides businesses with the chance to attract individuals from outside the sector, enabling them to retrain whilst also bringing new skills and experience into the industry.
Make use of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation’s (IICF) Talent Hub, which is a unique platform designed to help diverse job seekers find internships, training programs, scholarships, and more.
The employer brand has never been more important as a fundamental part of attracting talent into your business, particularly now when competition to get that talent is fiercer than ever.
But to get it right you must understand what is important to your audience, what they consider before joining a new organization, what are their must haves, and what will they perhaps compromise on. You then need to spend time aligning your brand to these expectations.
The next generation of talent have different work goals and are looking for personal fulfillment and purpose of work rather than a job for life. This cohort are looking for career opportunities that contribute to the greater good, therefore CSR and D&I hold huge importance to them and will be areas that will greatly influence the perception of the employer brand.
Consider also where you promote and talk about your business, what are your desired talent pool reading and watching and which social channels they spend the most time on; this is where your business should be promoted.
For example, 40% * of Gen Z use YouTube to research companies, Instagram 37%, and Snapchat 26%.*Is your brand right for these channels and how would it be perceived by users of these channels?
The Digital Transformation
Talent attraction strategies should be aligned to the skills requirement against a backdrop of industry wide change. Organisations should be seen to be “future focused”, considering the needs of an industry undergoing significant innovation and digital transformation.
Businesses should be implementing digital processes and systems that mirror the progressive and forward thinking attitudes of the next generation of talent. Although the industry is embracing this “digital revolution” it is arguably still at the beginning, therefore this talent can truly influence the way the industry is changing.
Uncovering the secrets of the Millennial
Understanding the Millennial and how they view the world of work will be pivotal to attracting them into the industry.
These are a digital savvy generation, preferring to work on teams, looking for immediate feedback, not interested in long hours, expecting flexibility, remote working, and family friendly policies.
Millennials seek peer to peer recommendations and use sites such as Glass Door, where candidates, employees, and former employees can review companies when deciding where to work.
Research shows that 69% *of job seekers, whether in employment or not will not apply to a company that has a poor rating on Glass Door. Despite this, knowledge of Glass Door and other such sites are relatively unknown amongst senior figures in the industry.
Attracting them to the industry is one thing, now you must retain them…
An issue particularly key for the insurance sector, due to aging senior management. Orgnaisations can’t become complacent, attraction is just the start, the industry must do more to ensure it keeps these new entrants.
There is currently a lack of middle management and a huge gap between young professionals and senior management. For example, the average age of a Lloyds Underwriter is 55, there will come a time in not too long where there will be a lot of the next generation leading syndicates in a market that has changed – inexperienced individuals will flounder and look for alternative employment, perhaps in an alternative sector…
The industry and individual organsiations need to support this transition and provide access to learning in order for them to acquire the skills they lack.
Knowledge transfer and mentoring will be invaluable to help shape the leaders of tomorrow.
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