The insurance agency plays a significant role as a major employer in the United States, offering nearly 3 million jobs. As the economy experiences a downturn and industry conditions grow increasingly uncertain, the insurance industry has encountered several challenges. With growing concerns around security and fraud, environmental concerns, and changing distribution landscapes, “resilience and future-proofing” are keys to keeping the insurance industry afloat amid a hardening market.
In addition to considering industry conditions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it’s predicted that within the next 12 years, approximately 50% of the existing insurance workforce will retire, resulting in over 400,000 vacant positions within the industry. It’s a phenomenon that we’ve seen before: the insurance industry, like many other industries, is in dire need of new, talented, and dedicated employees.
The state of early-career talent in the insurance industry
Let’s be real: insurance might not be the most attractive career choice for recent graduates. The perception of working in insurance has been labeled things like a necessary evil, boring, only being for math geniuses, or only hiring for sales positions, to name a few. However, when we unpack working in the insurance industry, there are several aspects that align with the values of Generation Z. It all comes down to how well you can bridge the two.
We know that Generation Z values stability (both job-related and financial), the use of technology, and flexibility when considering a profession – and the insurance industry is very quickly moving in the direction to support Gen Z in these demands.
As we move into the second half of 2023, the insurance agency stands at a critical juncture of transformation and adaptation. It has experienced notable shifts driven by technological advancements, evolving customer expectations, and the global events that have shaped our world. And, as Generation Z prepares to embark in their careers, it’s crucial for insurance employers to grasp the current trends that are shaping the industry landscape.
Despite current economic uncertainties and fluctuations, the insurance industry provides greater stability compared to other sectors. As long as consumers require medical care, own homes, care for pets, drive cars, and operate businesses, demand for insurance offerings will remain relatively constant. And, while certain areas of insurance are projected to grow at a faster pace than others, there will be an ongoing need for support personnel across all lines of insurance in the coming years.
The significance of job security and stability cannot be overstated when appealing to Gen Z insurance prospects. They have witnessed their parents navigating the market crash of the 2000s and, more recently, the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Independent Agent Magazine highlights that the insurance agency truly shines when it appeals to Gen Z’s desire for stable, fulfilling work. Engaging in one-on-one policy reviews, informal wellness discussions, and staying connected with client’s lives can be personally rewarding and allow Gen Z agents to work directly within their communities.
A common misconception is that the only opportunity in the insurance field is to be an agent, however, there are various other career paths within insurance companies including roles in claims, marketing, human resources, underwriting, and more. Properly educating and marketing these benefits - the field’s diverse pathways, reliable income, and ample opportunities for growth – is key in attracting the next generation of insurance talent.
In wake of the pandemic, there is a widespread desire among workers to have the flexibility of remote or hybrid style working environments. And the insurance industry has taken note. Insurance executives are now embracing flexible working arrangements due to their positive impact on productivity and cost reduction, ultimately leading to happier employees and enabling agencies to access a wider talent pool. In addition, promoting and providing a great work-life balance is key to keeping new hires engaged.
For Generation Z, this is all they’ve ever wanted.
The growing emphasis on workplace flexibility is also shaping the realm of benefits within the insurance space. Employees now place a higher value on options and flexibility when it comes to their benefit packages. Insurance carriers are increasingly adopting "voice of the customer" (VOC) initiatives internally, actively seeking employee input to determine the most effective strategies for attracting and retaining talent through benefits customization.
As part of VOC initiatives, agencies are reimagining workspaces to create environments that foster collaboration and diminish the sense of being confined. Companies are reassessing their spatial needs, instead shifting towards open and collaborative office designs or repurposing spaces previously dedicated to individual offices or cubicles. These spaces are transformed into shared areas that encourage team meetings and collaborative work in a more relaxed setting, further promoting the open communication and teamwork that drives Gen Z.
The integration and adoption of cutting-edge technologies is another non-negotiable for Generation Z. While the insurance agency may not be immediately associated with technological advancements, it offers employees the opportunity to work in a sector that is making tech-related changes.
One notable trend is the rise of insurtech, which disrupts conventional processes through the integration of technology. From digital customer interactions to automated underwriting and claims handling, this type of technology is revolutionizing the industry. Gen Z professionals must be prepared to embrace and leverage these innovations to optimize operational efficiency and provide seamless customer experiences.
In addition, an increasing number of insurance agencies are promoting a culture of collaboration through the use of technology. Employees now have more freedom to self-organize, work jointly on projects, and bring forward prototype concepts. This approach enables agencies and carriers to leverage the diverse knowledge and expertise possessed by their employees, regardless of their position or status within the organization.
In the competition for talent, many insurers often feel insecure, acknowledging that they lag behind more glamorous industries (like technology, finance, or IT) in attracting and retaining top-notch Gen Z employees. However, the evolving nature of the insurance industry presents these employers with a valuable opportunity to level the playing field.
Insurance companies possess a compelling story to share; and have the potential to offer innovated, fulfilling, and stable careers, embrace technology, and promote flexibility, three areas that matter deeply to Generation Z employees. By prioritizing their needs and effectively communicating the industry's numerous advantages, insurance companies can position themselves for success. With a concerted effort to shift the industry's narrative and showcase its potential, insurers can seize the opportunity to attract top talent and thrive in the evolving landscape.
For more insights like these, check out Abode. At Abode, we believe that Generation Z is transforming the way employers source, recruit, hire, and retain. Our platform enables companies to build confident, productive, and bought-in employees through centralized communications and community building. To see the platform in action, visit our website or schedule a demo with our team here.