If you think that chasing a career in insurance is going to be the most dull and bland job of your life, you are in for a surprise.
Boring and old are just a few of the negative connotations the insurance industry sometimes carries. And yes, the industry is old; one of the oldest in London in fact. But, it is most certainly not boring.
Many of the younger generations (Millennials and Generation Z) are overlooking a career in insurance due to the stereotypes above. And this is not just my opinion. According to Insurance Businessmagazine, only 4% of recent graduates in 2018 are purposely selecting a career in insurance. The rest either tend to fall into the industry or get pulled in by family. These young generations are all about the new, high-speed, tech-savvy offices that allow you sit on bean bags or hammocks while working. And I say that with the most non-judgmental tone possible, because who wouldn’t want to work in their pyjamas.
The older generations have had issues in the past understanding how to be more accommodating for the up-and-coming generations. It requires patience and a solid comprehension of why each generation is the way it is.
Millennials, a generational cohort born between 1984 and 1996, shocked the working world with their incredibly different working attitude compared with the generations before them. Baby boomers and Gen Xers would describe this generation as being tough to manage in the workplace due to their entitled, self-absorbed behaviour. They were unfocused and did not generally stick around in one job for more than a year. What these older generations slowly figured out though, was that Millennials were self-absorbed; but it was for a good cause. They were more interested in growing as individuals and focusing on building their career experience rather than committing to one company.
Gen Z is the next generation to start entering the workforce, and they might be even more of a mystery to Baby Boomers and Gen Xers. They grew up with the internet and do not know a world without smart phones. They are even more unfocused than Millennials and they have even higher expectations when it comes to their careers. More of this generation are deciding against university and are skipping ahead to their careers, to start building their work experience. Some are even considering starting their own businesses before going to university.
Thinking about these characteristics of both younger generations, it might become a bit more obvious why they wouldn’t want to pursue a career in insurance. Not many people (these days) wake up and decide they want to be an insurance broker or underwriter. Media is one factor that portrays the sector in a bad way – not least the focus on consumer-facing car and household insurance; no mention of cyber, property catastrophe or marine. I remember growing up with the State Farm commercials on TV in the US and they always showed the same, boring character in them. It definitely did not make the industry seem appealing to work in.
There are so many reasons though, why insurance is actually perfect for the up-and-coming generations, and actually fits in with a lot of their career goals.
Millennials and Gen Z strive for growth in their careers. They look for roles that offer opportunities to build on their work experience and knowledge. The insurance industry, in its current form, is filled with opportunity. Baby boomers and even some Gen Xers are on the retirement wave, which means there is a higher chance for internal promotions, leaving roles open to new comers. Many insurance companies like to build their talent from the ground up and offer amazing apprenticeship programmes.
Along with the increased opportunity for growth, insurance also likes to offer their employees relatively high compensation and benefits. When Millennials joined the workforce, their priorities were different to previous generations. They valued the growth rate and location of the company more than compensation. Gen Z’s are the children of Gen Xers, who went through a major recession. This means they value money more than Millennials. Insurance offers good salaries, amazing benefits and so many opportunities to network.
Gen Z’s are also deemed as eager to adventure and live in new places. The insurance industry offers lots of travel and remote working opportunities due to the industry’s global network. Many companies have branches all over the world. A lot of companies also offer outreach programmes for their employees to participate in. For example, recently, a friend of mine was sent to The Phillippines to build houses and teach cooking.
Insurance companies will also be looking to the younger generations for assistance in technology development. Customers are becoming more and more impatient with certain processes and their demands are increasing in terms of speed and efficiency. These younger generations grew up in the digital technology era so are likely able to provide a knowledge about technology that the older generations in the industry would not be able to provide. In turn, this provides a higher opportunity for these younger generations to participate in bigger digital innovation projects.
Lastly, the insurance industry has an incredible social aspect that any young professional would love. The industry is client facing, meaning building relationships between clients is the number one goal. Relationship building in insurance still involves entertainment, albeit more tempered than the old days! But it’s better than sitting in the office all day. It allows for an element of fun. And there definitely isn’t a generation out there that doesn’t enjoy a bit of fun.