Throughout the past year, insurers have faced a tight – and often tumultuous – labor market. More seasoned professionals are continuing to retire, individuals of all levels are leaving the workforce amid “the Great Resignation” and we’re experiencing “the Great Reshuffle” of talent. Our recent Q1 2022 Insurance Labor Market Study indicates the recruiting climate has reached record difficulty and will likely become more challenging as we continue through 2022.
The study, conducted in partnership with Aon plc, found 72% of insurance carriers (the highest percentage in the study’s 13-year history) plan to increase their headcounts this year. This is a 16-point increase over July 2021 and an 11-point increase over January 2020’s pre-pandemic expectations. The primary driver for adding staff in 2022 is anticipated increases in business volume; this is a shift from the July and January 2021 results, which attributed understaffed areas as the main reason for insurers to add employees.
Not surprisingly, technology roles continue to see the most demand, followed by claims and analytics positions. Experienced staff is the industry’s greatest need across all functional areas, with three-quarters of respondents sharing they were planning to hire experienced employees. However, while insurers are primarily targeting experienced individuals, this mid-level gap demonstrates the value of growing junior-level employees and building a strong internal bench of talent.
Although the majority of insurers aim to hire this year, overall recruiting difficulty has reached a peak. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of job openings in finance and insurance is at an all-time high. This is further compounded by a low industry unemployment rate. Insurers are experiencing increased difficulty in not only finding, but also retaining the right talent. Technology roles remain the most difficult to fill, followed by actuarial and analytics positions. However, all functions increased in recruiting difficulty compared to July 2021, with the exception of executive positions.
Demand for temporary staff has also grown amid these recruiting challenges and can help insurers fill immediate employment gaps, lessen the impact of attrition and maintain productivity. Nineteen percent of carriers plan to increase their use of temporary employees in 2022 – another high watermark for the study.
As the industry continues to respond to shifting employee expectations, the vast majority of insurers intend to offer flexible working arrangements as offices reopen. Eighty-nine percent plan to offer a hybrid work model and 45% anticipate fully remote options. As long-term hybrid work becomes the norm and insurance leaders evaluate their talent strategies, flexibility in all areas is essential for long-term success.
Listen to our recent podcast, featuring Greg Jacobson, co-CEO of The Jacobson Group, and Jeff Rieder, head of Ward Benchmarking, for more insight and commentary on the study’s findings. To download the full report or view the results webcast presentation, click here.
The Semi-Annual U.S. Insurance Labor Market Study has collected revenue and hiring projections from carriers across all sectors of the industry since 2009. The next iteration of the survey will take place in July 2022. To be notified when it opens, follow this link.