With the national unemployment rate at the lowest it’s been in 50 years, it’s an employee-driven job market. While this is good news for candidates who can afford to be selective with the abundance of open positions, employers are faced with challenges. In order to remain competitive, they must shift away from the employer-centric way of thinking and be more creative in their recruiting efforts.
Brokers Have Their Work Cut Out for Them
The industry is slowly aging out. Today’s average insurance professional is 45 years old. While still young, retirement isn’t far off. Over the next 15 years the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that nearly half of the current insurance industry workforce will retire.
Attracting the younger generations is a challenge because, according to some, the industry has a public relations problem. Brokers are all too familiar with the empathetic expressions that follow when they tell someone what they do for a living. While the industry offers all the amenities young employees look for in a career—competitive salaries, stability, work/life balance—most are turning their back on opportunities. In fact, a survey by The Hartford found that only 4% of millennials placed the industry on their “work wish list.”
Forward-thinking brokers must devise a succession plan if they wish to survive and thrive.
Steve Radespiel of the Insurance Center of North Jersey is no stranger to these challenges. In his role as president-elect of the Professional Insurance Agents of New Jersey, Steve is in frequent contact with agents throughout the state, “Everybody is having a hard time finding talent, especially young talent.” As a result, Steve says a lot of agencies are turning to non-traditional means to find employees.
Cast a Wider Net
Aside from a license, brokers need to be excellent listeners and communicators, skills often associated with other professions. “In addition to conventional methods like putting ads on job boards, a lot of [brokers] are reaching out to people they come in contact with. I know people in the industry who have spoken to workers in banks, restaurants, car dealerships, and mobile retailers, trying to recruit them because they are good with people, and in some cases, have sales abilities.”
This approach has worked for Steve. He finds it easier to train an employee with desirable soft skills rather than hiring someone with prior industry experience.
Join the Culture Club
While benefits like free food and gym memberships might initially attract talent, it’s the organization’s culture that makes them want to stay. Steve believes a shift in mindset is what is necessary to build a desirable culture. “You need to be more open, inclusive, and understanding of the younger generations. That includes how they want their workspace and how they interact with their co-workers. It also means giving them the flexibility they are looking for, too.”
Survival of the Quickest
To engage younger generations, recruiters need to appeal to their desire for instant gratification and ease of execution, which also spills over into their approach to job hunting. You have to act fast to score the best employees. Research reveals that the best candidates are off the market within 10 days. And 23% of candidates lose interest in the position if they don’t hear back within a week of the initial interview.
Having a formal hiring strategy helps you identify qualified candidates before your competition does. Utilizing technology that stores job description templates and posts to multiple boards at once saves time. Additionally, technology greatly reduces time to hire by automating routine tasks such as scheduling calls and interviews, gathering feedback, and rating candidates.
Balance Point is committed to being a true partner to the broker. If you need help developing reliable hiring practices so you can identify, attract, secure, and retain talent for your agency, schedule a consultation with your Human Capital Management Representative.