Looking for Workers in Too Few Places

May 25, 2013

Not only are baby boomers the predominant part of the American workforce in terms of numbers, they are especially predominant in the insurance industry. A recent article in National Underwriter Property & Casualty headlined “Insurance Industry Crisis: 400,000 Positions to Fill by 2020” reported on an industry discussion about the talent drain and included the following startling statistic:

“… President and CEO Peter L. Miller of The Institutes says studies of the industry find the number of employees age 55 and over is 30 percent higher than any other industry.”

The article goes on to state: “With retirements, the industry will need to fill 400,000 positions by 2020.”

Sadly, many in the industry still are limiting their search for workers to only a couple places: Young workers and poaching.

Don’t get me wrong: Young workers certainly have talent and abilities, and I welcome them wholeheartedly to this great insurance industry. But the fact is that there just aren’t enough of them: Demographics show that the rate of growth in America’s young population is zero.

And recruiting workers away from competitors also is a time-honored tradition, and it’s a healthy part of a strong job market. But it’s not going to solve the long-term job needs of our industry.

Despite significant strides in automation and technology over the past 20 years, one fact remains: The insurance industry needs knowledge workers.

Here at WAHVE, it’s our foundational belief that the workers with the most knowledge are those with the most experience. And those with the most experience are vintage workers (i.e., those over age 50).

The next time you hear someone in the industry complain about not being able to find qualified workers, ask: “Have you tried a vintage worker?”

— Sharon Emek, Ph.D.
Founder and CEO


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