If you haven’t read about it yet, I love working in insurance. We also have a huge talent issue. This means that, when someone is looking for a new career path, I tell them how much I love working in insurance and that they should look at the industry. Well, I did that recently with my significant other. He was focusing on personal pursuits that would hopefully pan out, but didn’t. Now he’s looking for a career and, of course, I’m trying to get him into insurance. I won’t bore you with a resume, but I’m sure he would do great and it means I get more reasons to discuss insurance.
I started to help him look for a job. I reached out to contacts on LinkedIn, I spent hours on Indeed, and basically anything else I could do to find an entry-level position for him. I had constantly heard how difficult it is to find a good CSR, so I figured it would be an easy search given how scarce the applicants seemed to be.
I was dead wrong. Those hours of searching and messaging produced a total of two opportunities, one of which wasn’t really feasible. I was struck with the absurdity of it: we need more people, but we’re not doing anything to reach out even if it’s someone who is already looking to get into insurance. How could we expect others who don’t know anything of the industry to find us?
I picked out three core issues that need to be dealt with: accessible job postings focusing on who companies want, consistent job titles and experience requirements, and focusing on who companies want to attract.
Job Postings Written in English, Not Jargon:
Making job postings more accessible to lay people is obviously the most important of these. It was so difficult to find any insurance jobs. I had to go to various companies websites, look under their careers section, and hope something was there. I have little faith that I know all the insurance companies out there, so I’m sure I ended with a very incomplete search. I searched through the typical job websites, like Indeed and Glassdoor, to little avail. I reached out to a few people in my network as well, and while my network is very small, it did yield dismal results.
We need a consolidated job board that companies reliably post on:
(Maybe a future InsNerds feature? Hmmm.) This creates two extremely favorable situations: firstly, the company isn’t missing out on potential candidates simply due to lack of awareness on the applicant’s part. This means more competition and more security that the applicant you are hiring is the best for your company, not just the one you happened to find.
Secondly, those new to insurance can see all the opportunities out there, which is an enticement in and of itself. Individuals are more likely to get into an industry if they know there are opportunities waiting for them when they’re ready, and it sets goals to work toward. This means motivated and long-term candidates, not just those in it for a temporary job. That’s exactly who we want! Right?
Consistent job titles is another big one. Our industry is one of many acronyms, positions, and skills, and as such it’s hard to know all the name variations of a typical title. CSR, Customer Service Representative, Underwriting Assistant, Technical Assistant, Assistant Underwriter, you get the gist. These are all positions that, depending on the company, are entry-level and should be easy to discover. However, as it currently stands you need to be aware of each title and search them individually, or hope that searching “insurance” under the entry-level category is enough (tip: it’s not). If you’re going to use whatever particular title you prefer, the other titles should be included as a tag or within the description of the job so that it pops up when the others are searched.
Better Job Descriptions:
Lastly, we really need to fix the job descriptions. InsNerds wrote an article on this before, but I think we should do even more. We need to make these postings focused on the people the company is looking for and where an individual would fit within the grander scheme of the company. Yes, a technical assistant is going to be doing a lot of repetitive tasks, and you don’t need to sugarcoat that. Instead, make the focus on how that individual is going to help grow the business, learn it from the ground up, and be given opportunities to improve and be part of that growth.
Another issue is the honesty within these descriptions. Many will say “entry-level” but then, upon further review, require an insurance license and 1-2 years of experience. I think we need to do away with this. This is not what entry-level means. We should be more focused on the skills and drive that a person has at their core, not whether they’ve made a conscious decision to join insurance (because chances are they haven’t). That’s not to say that we should take anyone that strolls through the door – it’s rather a paradigm shift in values. Stop valuing experience or licensing so highly – both of these things can be gained within a short amount of time. Value interest, motivation, teamwork and enthusiasm. If we’re weeding out individuals with those traits in favor of a mere license, we’re missing out on a lot of individuals. Licensing in particular can appear very difficult at first glance – I had no idea what it took to get an insurance license out of college – so it’s probably turning a lot of candidates away. Classes are $500+ and the test is $60+, and who is going to spend that kind of money when they aren’t sure if they’ll get a job out of it? It’s a bonus if someone has it, but it should not be a requirement.
We have a long way to go with getting more individuals into the industry, and not much time to get there. Making job postings accessible, honest and congruent would be a huge step in attracting more talent and, more importantly, good talent.