The “Inside Story” on Finding Talent in the Insurance Industry

With over 2.5 million people (all-time record) now working in the insurance industry, finding great talent is extremely difficult in 2015.   In our 2015 Insurance Industry Employment Outlook, employers recruiting insurance talent openly shared very candid recruiting challenges they are experiencing. 

inside story

To get this information from 78 insurance employers, we ask our account managers to speak directly to talent acquisition managers, human resources and internal recruiting departments.  By actually speaking to them, it gives us the opportunity to listen to them and gain valuable insight on what is “really” going on with the hiring process.

Wow. You spoke, we listen and here is what you told us different from the normal recruiting challenges.

1.  The hiring process is taking way too long.  

Many of you told us once you found the person you wanted to hire, actually making the offer  and getting an acceptance could take anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 months!  Many companies lose the candidate and they feel that their hands are tied to make this process smoother.  The main roadblocks are full background checks, reference checking, sign offs by multiple hiring managers, assessment testing, multiple interviews (keep bringing the person back to meet multiple people) and delays in putting together compensation packages that have an approval process.  Wow.  Many of you told us you are losing great people because of your own recruiting process and it hurts.  With over one million insurance workers retiring in the next 10 years, this may be ab area that needs a real makeover.

2.  Salary Grade Restrictions.  

“We have a great company, generous benefits but if the person doesn’t fit in our salary grade, we have a tough time being competitive”, said one of our employers.  This is not a new issue for insurance companies.  What is new is the fact that many of your competitors are taking a serious look at this issue and “changing” the old school way of thinking.  No, the salary grades are the salary grades but what we have been told is the “years’ experience” rule being thrown out and really valuing a candidate on what they bring to the table.

3.  Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  

Employers mentioned that their own many applicant tracking systems are cumbersome and cause extra work.  One area mentioned is the hiring manager portal is causing major delays which are being blamed for losing out on needed talent.  Getting manager approval and times for initial and second interviews is the main culprit.

4.  Too Many Unqualified Resumes.  

This is no surprise to anyone.  With the ease of applying these days (unless you have a large ATS application process), job seekers are applying to many jobs.  A few employers are concerned their screening process spends more time eliminating candidates rather than recruiting talent.  One employer said that if a personal lines claims adjuster applies to a commercial lines position, they will be eliminated even though they may have a personal lines job open in another part of the company. 

5.  Insurance Sales Jobs are Hard to Fill.  

Finding experienced or entry level insurance sales professionals is challenging and there is no “silver bullet” resource that can provide enough quality hires.  

Any of these recruiting obstacles effecting your company?  From our observation of the data insurance employers provided us, the biggest challenge is the lack of recruiting budget and the amount of time from application to hire in the insurance industry. Making talent acquisition even more challenging is the dual effect of a record number of employees in the industry combined with over a million workers retiring in the next ten years.  Insurance employers really will have to be very strategic with their recruiting and hiring process to stay competitive.


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