The insurance industry is facing a severe talent shortage. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the insurance industry will need to fill more than 400,000 jobs by 2020. Baby boomers are retiring and young people think insurance is just Flo from Progressive trying to sell you car insurance. Very few college students enroll in college with the dream of becoming an underwriter or an actuary. In fact, if you ask someone in the industry, you’ll most likely hear the phrase “I just fell into it”.
Last week my team and I had the incredible opportunity to attend Insurance Day, one of the largest insurance career fairs in the country, held by the Cal State Fullerton Center for Insurance Studies (CIS). There was quite the turnout – 30+ employers and hundreds of eager job seekers. But what really stood out to me was not the students gathered around the booths. It was the students who walked straight past the booths, completely ignoring the high paying job and internship opportunities.
Here’s what I heard:
“I’m not really interested in insurance because I don’t want to do sales.”
“I’m interested in math and computer science and insurance doesn’t really apply to me.”
Insurance college recruiting currently involves on-campus tables that offer free swag and brochures to students who will likely never read them. The Center for Insurance Studies does a great job of educating students with relevant courses and leadership organizations. But what about the liberal arts colleges where students don’t know the first thing about business/finance, much less insurance? How do you educate students about opportunities in a way that doesn’t scare them off? How can we reach a mass demographic of students instead of the handful who have already taken 3 actuarial exams?
College students simply don’t know what insurance companies do. They think that insurance is about door to door life insurance sales, when in reality there is quite literally a role for anyone. Here are some words of wisdom from Bill McKinney, VP of Strategy at Thrivent Financial, a F500 insurance company that manages over $100B in assets.
Interested in climate change? Insurance is at the center of that storm.
Interested in community resilience? Insurance is at the center of government/private partnerships to help build a more resilient world.
Interested in investing? Insurance companies have 20% of ALL the assets under management in the world…that’s over $13 trillion (with a T).
How can insurance companies rebrand to young people?
If the insurance industry wants to hire top talent then it needs to change the way that it approaches young people. Posting open positions on your website is not nearly enough. You need to rebrand to young people by having your employees share the stories of how they “fell into insurance”. Students need to understand that going into insurance isn’t about getting a job. It’s about starting a career – one that’s filled with limitless growth opportunities, tough problems to solve, and phenomenal mentors.
Special thanks to Bill McKinney and the university recruiting team at Thrivent for being innovative and forward thinking enough to lean in and offer career opportunities to the Homi community. We are working with Thrivent to get their employees onto Homi, so that when college students apply for a job, it’s not just a job posting. It’s every single alum from your school who’s ever worked at the company, each one of whom has a unique story about what they do and how they got there. You’ll be able to talk to them before you apply, see if it’s a good fit for you and get a warm internal referral to HR.
If you’re a college student looking for summer internships, you can apply for any of Thrivent’s job opportunities on Homi.
Originally published October 30, 2018