Attracting job seekers to the insurance industry has presented an ongoing challenge, one that could get a little tougher. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data reveal that 216,000 job openings were filled in December 2023 and the unemployment rate held at 3.7%. The labor market in 2023 showed quite a bit of resilience.
However, for the insurance industry, there was a noticeable increase in the number of job openings, with the industry losing 2.4% of its workforce from November 2023 through December 2023. It’s a dearth that, if left unchecked, is likely to deepen.
Right now, there are several factors putting pressure on the jobs market in general. BLS data show that in addition to current jobs, there will be another 8.3 million jobs added to the workforce between 2021 and 2031. Not only that – in 2024, an expected 22% of current employees will be looking to retire. Each day, 12,000 employees on average turn 65, which could significantly increase the labor shortage in the insurance industry. There simply aren’t enough employees to fill an increasing labor shortage.
There isn’t enough knowledge, either. Organizations are already struggling with managing the loss of knowledge – a McKinsey & Company report found that 43% of companies expect a skills gap right now, with 22% expecting to experience it in the next two years. Getting new employees up and running is going to take time and mentoring – something many organizations may have little time to do. Thus, there will be a negative impact on productivity until new employees can come up to speed.
The good news is that despite the jobs outlook for the industry, there is much that organizations can do right now to improve their hiring and retention. We suggest going beyond the traditional hiring process and widening the talent pool in a few ways.
Tweak the candidate profile. Review your job postings to see who your organization has been looking for and who you may be overlooking. Is your focus too narrow? Consider a different job seeker profile – look at older workers, who often come with plenty of expertise and mentoring capabilities. Often, workers at retirement age or already retired are looking for a way to transition their skills into a slower-paced position.
Embrace flexible work hours and hybrid work. No matter what age your job seekers are, the majority are looking for ways to obtain a better work-life balance. By adopting flexible work hours and remote/hybrid work arrangements, you can attract more job seekers. Studies show that remote workers, managed effectively, have anywhere from 20-150% higher productivity versus in-office workers. Also, you can widen your candidate pool by removing geographic borders. Your best-fit worker could be located three states away.
Revamp your job listings. Remove language from job postings that could be telegraphing a bias toward one demographic or another. Encourage older workers to apply. Offer a remote/hybrid option and flexible work hours in your posting. Improve your vetting process to ensure that the best candidates are being discovered.
At Wahve, we’ve found that applying two approaches to attacking the insurance industry’s talent gap opens up the broadest possible pool of candidates:
Wahve Vintage Expert Contract Staffing flips the retirement paradigm on its head. We find industry professionals with decades of experience who have left the traditional workforce but want to remain engaged through long-term, work-from-home assignments that augment an insurance firm’s staff.
Wahve Talent Acquisition Outsourcing focuses on traditional direct-hire candidates through a bias-free process that broadens the pool of potential applicants then narrows the list to the top candidates who best fit the job requirements.
These two approaches complement each other, tapping into the full spectrum of candidates available to meet the growing insurance industry talent gap.
As the insurance industry continues to see top talent head off to retirement, it’s time to reimagine what the workforce can be. Organizations can fill the gap left by those skilled professionals by rethinking hiring, employee demographics, and where and when workers can be most productive.