July 19, 2021
5 Questions Graduates Want to Know About Insurance Careers
by Mary Newgard
I got my start in the insurance industry like so many of us, sans a specific insurance and risk management education but with a bachelor’s degree and a fortuitous connection. Next year marks 20 years since I graduated college, and I can still remember the mixture of excitement and anxiety I felt entering the workforce, though never once did I expect to end up in the insurance industry. In fact, I wanted to be the public relations director for The Kansas City Chiefs. (I still do, if, by chance, Clark Hunt reads Insurance Journal. Call me. #shamelessplug).
It seems very little has changed in the minds of college graduates over the last two decades. According to IRMI Insight’s article, Solving the Insurance Industry Talent Crisis by Investing in Risk Management and Insurance Graduates, “Only 25% of the insurance industry workforce is under the age of 35.” When young professionals don’t think about insurance until their three, five, or 10-year career mark, it’s no surprise the industry finds itself on the “talent cliff” described throughout the study.
The limited awareness from college graduates about the insurance industry shouldn’t deter you, as a hiring executive, from actively pursuing them. In fact, summer and fall is the perfect time to hit the college recruiting scene. The COVID-19 pandemic created job market insecurity for many graduates who thought they had their position and industry-of-choice all lined up. The article titled “Graduation Is Coming. The Jobs Aren’t.” from Talk Poverty April 2021 states, “As the estimated four million college graduates of the class of 2021 prepare to enter post-graduate life, they will face a job market that has lost 8.4 million jobs between February 2020 and March 2021. Despite their newly-earned credentials, the most recent batch of college students are uniquely disadvantaged in the coronavirus job market. They are trying to start careers at a moment when jobs are scarce.”
Now, we all know jobs within the insurance industry are not scarce. Far from it. You have a lot of work to do filling roles created through acquisitions, organic growth, and mass retirements. It is incumbent upon you to introduce, educate and inspire young people to get into the business, just as an agency executive once did to me.
You must anticipate the fears, misnomers, and stereotypes of the insurance industry.
You are sure to encounter at least one of these five questions when talking with a college grad. Take a moment to think about how you will answer.
Question 1: Will I Be Able to Put My Degree to Good Use?
Question 2: What Are the Highest Paying Jobs in Insurance?
Question 3: Do I Need Special Training and Education to Be Successful?
Question 4: What Does Career Pathing Look Like Within the Insurance Industry?
Question 5: Is Insurance A Stable Industry Where I Can Find Job Security?
Selling a college graduate on an insurance career is a totally different pitch than recruiting an experienced industry professional. As you explore the market, anticipate young professionals’ concerns and objections. Prepare your answers around a central theme, “Why the insurance industry?”