As of September 2021, the US talent shortage reached a ten-year high. A Manpower Group survey revealed that talent shortages had more than tripled, and 69% of employers were trying their best to fill positions. In 2010, just 14% were having trouble locating talent.
What’s more, retirements have accelerated. Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) have sped up their exodus amid the pandemic. In the third quarter of 2020, 28.6 million left work behind, a 3.2 million increase over the same period in 2019, says data from the Pew Research Center.
For those in the insurance industry, the talent shortage has been a growing issue. Adding a pandemic to the equation has made the situation even more dire, particularly in smaller companies looking to augment their current staff. So how can your agency or small business find the talent you need in one of the most impossible labor markets in recent history?
By employing the very people who are leaving, re-employing them in remote positions.
In fact, remote work is finally getting its due among employers, especially given the new data on what today’s workforce wants. A recent EY Work Reimagined Employee Survey shows that globally, employees want remote work – 54% of those surveyed would consider switching jobs if they are not offered more flexible work arrangements. This coming from people who are 76% more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and are 93% more likely to stay in their current roles for the following 12 months.
That’s where the savvy company can attract the right talent – by offering what others won’t. And by targeting that demographic that is opting to retire instead of ride out the pandemic.
Yet many of today’s retirees find that retirement is not quite suiting them. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that of the 40% of people aged 55 and older who were actively looking for work, there was a marked increase in how many of those people were in the 65 through 74, and 75 and older categories. By 2024, BLS projects that 13 million people over the age of 65 will be part of the workforce.
What today’s retiring/retired worker wants are things that cost your company nothing, but can bring immense benefits:
A remote position. Retiring veteran employees, especially in the time of pandemic, want simplicity. They’re eager to skip the commute, pass on management burdens, and opt to step into a more administrative role with less responsibility and stress.
Their own hours. Many retired workers have other responsibilities and needs – caring for parents, grandchildren, or a loved one, volunteering, traveling. They want to work, but don’t want work to consume their lives as it may have done previously. Since remote workers have been proven to be more productive at home than in an office. A Stanford University and Ctrip study shows higher productivity from remote workers than in-house staff, and an Upwork report revealed that 32.2% of managers said that productivity has increased since employees started working from home in 2020. A Mercer report found that of 800 employers surveyed 94% said that work productivity was the same or higher since employees started working from home.
The chance to mentor. Let’s face it – veteran workers have plenty of knowledge and on-the-job experience. And many of them are willing to share those skills with the new workforce. Retiring/retired workers feel valued when employers re-engage them and tap into their talents to help a new generation learn the ropes. Moreover, younger workers can in turn train more senior workers on the latest technology. This sharing builds stronger, more cohesive teams.
At a time when talent is dwindling and competition for experienced workers is at its most fierce, having a viable alternative to traditional talent acquisition is critical to the success of your company. Look no further than the talent that is exiting or has already left the industry.
Many of today’s retired insurance professionals are wanting more than just retirement; they’re looking for a meaningful next career move. By keeping their talent engaged in a remote position, they get the step-down career transition they want, and you get a wealth of talent at your disposal.