Over the next 12 months, 68% of companies plan to increase staff, largely due to an anticipated increase in the volume of business as well as current understaffing.
Despite staffing challenges, the outlook for the insurance industry's employment market is optimistic, according to the “Q3 2022 U.S. Insurance Labor Market Study" from The Jacobson Group and Ward, a business unit of Aon.
The difficult post-pandemic labor market has prompted organizations to realign and establish concrete plans for future operations, according to the study, which surveyed insurance leaders across all industry verticals from Sept. 15 to Oct. 2. This, as well as record numbers of open jobs, is cultivating a competitive recruiting climate.
Unemployment in the insurance industry has historically been lower than the national average, and clocked in at 2.1% in January, compared to 3.5% for the overall employment market, according to Jacobson and Ward. With 9,400 new jobs in October, according to the study, insurance industry employment increased by 43,000 jobs in the past 12 months, and doesn't seem to be slowing down.
Over the next 12 months, 68% of companies plan to increase staff, largely due to an anticipated increase in the volume of business caused by expansions into new markets in the property-casualty sector, as well as current understaffing.
In the same period, only 5% of companies plan to reduce their number of employees, which is an increase from the 3% expected in the previous January study. The change is attributed mostly to the life-health sector. Improved automation is reported to be the primary reason for headcount reductions moving forward.
Compared to last year, 48% of companies find recruiting more difficult in 2022. Technology, underwriting and claims roles are expected to grow the most in the next year. However, technology roles have proven the hardest to fill, along with actuarial and analytics positions. Companies seek experienced staff in the technology and compliance areas, according to the study, where entry-level availability will most likely be seen in the actuarial and operations categories.
Should the industry follow through on its hiring and growth plans, there will be a 0.94% increase in industry employment during the next 12 months, the study projects. Jacobson urges companies to pay mind to retention, strategic recruiting and comprehensive succession planning.
In the November 2022 issue of Jacobson's Compass magazine, Judy Busby, senior vice president of executive search and corporate strategy, and Mike Abate, managing director, The Jacobson Group, say that the fight for talent remains intense and insurers should be prepared to ensure successors are in place to fill potential holes.
Organizations should focus on desired skills for future needs as their market share expands, have candid discussions about career goals with existing employees, build and develop existing employees' technical skills, including emotional intelligence, and determine which individuals could be placed into key positions, Busby and Abate note.
Organizations are also urged to consider and plan accordingly for potential barriers between employees and their goals to ensure that individuals can see continuous advancement in their careers.
Ann Seaberg is an IA contributor.