The insurance industry is facing a crisis. Twenty percent of the insurance workforce is near retirement age, compared to only 15 percent of the broader financial services workforce. By 2018, the number of the insurance workforce at near retirement age will climb to 25 percent.
With Baby Boomers retiring in record numbers, it’s imperative to attract younger talent. However, many companies are not doing enough to encourage the next generation of insurance leaders. In fact, when it comes to developing strategies to recruit the best and brightest, the insurance industry lags behind other industries.
This discrepancy represents a significant opportunity for companies to improve the image of the insurance industry and get a leg up on the competition for highly qualified college graduates. Fortunately, there are measures to help your organization gain visibility among colleges and make inroads into attracting your next workforce.
University Partners and Student Clubs
One way to identify business programs in your area is to tap your personal network. Ask if anyone you know has connections or has kids who are enrolled in a specific college. Check university, business school, or program rankings. After identifying your target schools, bypass the Career Center (for the time being) and go directly to the students. Use the schools’ websites to find student club contact information. Some keywords to search are “insurance,” “risk management,” “actuarial,” and “Gamma Iota Sigma,” (insurance fraternity). Consider finance club or women in business organizations, too.
Participate in Student Club Events
Many professionals are under the wrong impression that participating in club events is time-consuming. Typically, your obligation is simply to attend and share your information. Types of events include: employer presentations; university sponsored golf outings; networking events; and mentorship programs.
Hire an Intern
There are many benefits of having an internship program alongside your new-hire program. Internships test out potential new full-time hires. Benefits are not typically extended to interns, making internships fairly inexpensive. The competitive pay for insurance student internships generally ranges from $12 per hour to $19 per hour.
Many schools also encourage unpaid internships in which the student receives course credit instead of a wage. This can be a great alternative if your company is willing to report back to the university with information outlining the student’s responsibilities and describing the learning opportunities over the course of the internship.
Be an Ongoing Resource
The adage “it’s not what you know, but who you know” holds true when trying to attract the next generation of insurance industry leaders. When you connect with students from your local college or alma mater, give them your business card and encourage a follow-up. Offer to be a resource if they have questions about your career or industry. Personal connections will give you the inside track when top students enter the job market. Be assured that a positive reputation travels fast on campus.
Recruiting and attracting young talent is a long-term effort that needs to continue over several academic years. But once the groundwork is in place, your company will enjoy name recognition, and top students will seek out your company.
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