From Boomers to Millennials: Work-Life Balance, Helping Their Community and a Tech-Enabled Work Environment Are Must-Haves for Insurance Professionals
Despite common assumptions to the contrary, a new report released by Vertafore reveals that professionals in today’s cross-generational insurance workforce are attracted to and want many of the same things from their roles and workplaces.
“The Insurance Industry Workforce: A New Generation of Opportunity,” is a detailed look at what draws workers to the industry and offers insights for employers who are competing to attract and retain top talent in a job-seekers’ market.
The good news for employers: the majority of industry workers see insurance as a long-term career. However, a desire for more modern technology tools and work-life balance highlight opportunities where employers can improve.
Data undercuts generational stereotypes
Today’s workplace contains at least three distinct age groups: baby boomers, Gen X and millennials. In addition, a fourth generation – Gen Z – is on the verge of entering the workforce. Many employers are concerned about appealing to and creating workplaces for generations that are seen as having very diverse perspectives.
But Vertafore’s research shows many common stereotypes don’t play out in the insurance industry. For example, millennials have a reputation for being “job-jumpers,” but 42% see themselves staying in their current role for ten years or more. Another 33% plan to stay in their role for three years or more.
Similarly, baby boomers are often characterized as “tech-averse,” but 73% say InsurTech solutions have increased their overall efficiency. In addition, nearly 6 out of 10 boomers believe automation and other advances will streamline their work in the future, enabling them to focus on the most important aspect of the job: Meeting with clients and serving their needs.
Insurance provides engaging and rewarding work
The survey data shows positive commonalities in the generations seeing the opportunities and benefits of a career in insurance.
- Almost three-quarters of millennials plan to stay in insurance for as long as possible, only slightly behind 79% of Gen Xers.
- Baby boomers, Gen X, and millennials all ranked the ability to work directly with people in their communities as a top driver of job satisfaction, followed by the ability to be creative and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Interestingly, 67% of baby boomers—the highest percentage of all three age groups—ranked creativity and autonomy as the factors they liked most about an insurance career, ahead of even compensation.
- Eighty-six percent of all respondents said they would highly recommend a career in the insurance industry to a friend. That’s great news for employers, considering that employee referrals are a primary source of hiring.
“For years, there’s been a lot of talk about millennials in the workforce, how they’re so ‘different’ and what employers must do to manage this generation,” said Kristin Nease, vice president of human resources at Vertafore. “But our study has confirmed that employees of all ages want the same things — engaging, rewarding and challenging work, which the insurance industry plentifully provides.”
What insurance workers want
Respondents were also united in their views that insurance industry employers must offer greater flexibility, career growth opportunities and more modern tools in order to meet the expectations of today’s multi-generational workforce.
Millennials and Gen Xers both reported that after compensation, a better work-life balance would most influence them to leave the industry, while baby boomers preferred work-life balance over pay. All three generations ranked clear career growth opportunities as essential to attracting the next generation of talent. In addition, younger workers indicated that the onboarding experience needs a dramatic overhaul. Respondents cited a steep learning curve on agency management solutions as a significant challenge.
Preparing for Gen Z
And with Gen Z on the cusp of entering the workplace, the survey’s youngest respondents provided some insight into what employers may hear in the coming years. For example, nearly all Gen Z professionals said they believe technology helps them strengthen customer relationships, but they are more skeptical that it will increase their overall efficiency. This may be because as digital natives Gen Z workers have higher expectations for their office technology.
“For the most part, the industry is providing the type of engagement and opportunity today’s employees demand, but the data shows there are some clear areas for improvement,” Nease said. “For insurance employers in particular, modernizing is a must to attract and retain talent. At Vertafore, as we think about how to stay an employer of choice, we’re responding to a workforce that increasingly expects a better user experience, more intuitive interfaces and solutions that move the needle on productivity and efficiency. Employers should be aware that forcing workers to struggle with out-of-date technology will pose a barrier to finding and retaining employees.”