Andy Brownsell: Young people want to see defined career paths in insurance

Andy Brownsell, Commercial Director at Starpeak, discusses the growing demand for employees in the insurance sector and whether a recruitment ‘crunch point’ is inevitable.

Related topics:  Insuring Gen Z,  Commentary
Andy Brownsell | Commercial Director, Starpeak
26th March 2024
"It’s also important to acknowledge that many people in the insurance industry will say they ‘fell into’ the field by chance."
- Andy Brownsell, Commercial Director at Starpeak

Demand for insurance employees is growing, but the supply of talent continues to lag. Young people don’t consider the insurance industry an ‘attractive place’ to work. However, Gen Z (those born between 1997-2012) are now entering the workforce so the sector must start attracting talent from this demographic.

“If experienced underwriters and claims professionals move up in their careers, a lack of young talent means the market will come to a ‘crunch point’ with not enough people entering the profession.”

Understanding the complexities of the talent gap is incredibly important. As is knowing how to offer solutions to help navigate this gap, fostering an attractive and resilient workforce to ensure the insurance industry continues to grow.

So, how can insurance become more attractive to younger, ambitious talent?

Young people want to see defined career paths in insurance. By providing development roadmaps and training opportunities, insurance firms can demonstrate how they’d support incoming employees throughout their careers.

Firms should look for employees who are curious and committed to personal development; this is crucial when developing a pipeline of skilled professionals. But they should also begin (or continue) offering short-term summer placements and work programmes for even younger employees who’ve recently achieved their A Levels. Embracing more of these initiatives will be hugely beneficial when recruiting young talent.

“The gaps that need filling will be specific to an organisation but could span across technical and soft skills.”

Firms must develop a workplace culture that engages younger talent – this should focus on collaboration and communication as well as flexible working arrangements such as remote work options and flexible hours. Promoting a work-life balance will appeal to a wider talent pool and make it easier to attract and retain younger talent.

As the insurance sector begins to embrace technology, firms will need to attract individuals with the right skills to drive digital transformation. They should consider investing in automation technology to mitigate the ‘talent crunch’.

“By adopting automation technology, firms can streamline processes, enhance operational efficiency, and alleviate the burden on Human Resources (HR).”

The market needs to better articulate that a university degree isn’t the sole route into insurance – far from it. Alongside visibility at career fairs, insurers should keep their online and social media presence active, using their platforms to produce compelling content that targets younger candidates.

“For organisations looking to compete in a competitive market and appeal to the new generation of employees, successfully navigating the talent gap is essential.”

This includes communicating and educating people about the opportunities available within the insurance sector while fostering an inclusive environment that welcomes those from diverse backgrounds.

It’s important to acknowledge that many people in the insurance industry will say they ‘fell into’ the field by chance. This isn’t necessarily inclusive or purposeful when it comes to widening the talent pool.

“Insurance should be regarded as a viable career path, offering rewarding career opportunities.”

By taking the right steps, firms can bridge the current talent gap and grow the next generation of professionals to benefit the industry and wider society.

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