In a recent PwC pulse survey, financial services executives were asked to choose from a list of the biggest risks that could prevent their companies from achieving their 2022 growth goals: 55% cited talent acquisition and retention challenges, and just 26% said they expect these talent shortages to ease by the end of 2022.
In 2021, PwC conducted a global “Hopes and fears” survey of over 30,000 workers, and 39% of employees think their jobs will be obsolete within five years. They know they’ll need to be able to do something different in the future. In most insurance organizations, employees have started at the bottom and worked their way up through different job levels in the same or closely related functions. In employee perceptions (often in reality), this hasn’t encouraged a culture of innovation. So how can insurers create an attractive career path over the intermediate and long run and provide access to workers with diverse backgrounds and abilities?
Reaching the Next Generation of Your Insurance Workforce
Create clear career pathways.
A Pew Research Center survey in 2021 found 33% of U.S. workers left their jobs due to the lack of advancement opportunities. Insurance employers must emphasize career development and growth to attract the next generation of candidates. Internal mobility and skills training are appealing to younger entry-level workers. Whether employees find growth opportunities within your organization or outside of it depends on your ability to convince them that your company offers a career path that will meet their needs. Employers that set up programs for internal mobility sooner rather than later will reap the benefits.
Develop reskilling programs.
Making educational opportunities and learning pathways within your organization improves retention and can ensure that your organization is prepared for the future skills gap. Reskilling is critical to meeting insurers’ future talent needs because hiring externally for the skills required is costly and complex. Replacing an employee can cost more than 100 percent of the role’s annual salary, while successful reskilling can cost less than 10 percent.
Consider nontraditional career paths.
Returnships, essentially internships that help adults who have taken time away from their careers and are interested in re-entering the workforce, have seen a resurgence since the early days of the pandemic. This is an excellent way for an organization to achieve its diversity goals by providing an internship for adults to help them return to the traditional workforce.
A Successful Example
In a 2021 Workology Podcast with Nickle LaMoreaux, SVP and CHRO for IBM, LaMoreaux talked about how IBM created a returnship program due to the “Pink Collar Recession” during the early days of the pandemic. The IBM Institute for Business Value reported that, in 2020 alone, five million women were pushed from their jobs, and the female participation rate in the workforce was the lowest since 1988. IBM has a Tech Re-Entry Program, a six-month paid returnship for technical professionals who have been out of the workforce for 12 months or longer. So far, 99% of participants have been women.
Talent attraction strategies in the insurance industry must consider future roles to keep up with the digitization and automation of many functions within the industry. Additionally, creating internal mobility programs can support any organization concerned about future layoffs. Reskilling and restructuring are preferable to furloughs and layoffs and are more cost-effective in the long term.