Strength in Numbers: How to Build a More Successful Talent Pipeline


Gigging is nothing new. The U.S. workforce has long had freelancers who’ve chosen to work on a short-term, contract basis rather than commit to long-term positions. But now, it appears the trend is growing at a rapid pace. As of 2018, 36% of the U.S. workforce was part of the gig economy — and some experts predict this number will jump to 43% of workers by 2020.

What this means for employers is unclear, but one thing’s for certain: It won’t help with the talent shortage many companies are facing. In December 2018, the U.S. Labor Department reported that job vacancies rose by 2.4% to 7.3 million while the number of unemployed workers held steady at 6.3 million. That would still be a shortfall of 1 million workers if all else were equal.

Recruiting talent isn’t the only challenge facing today’s companies, though. Retention also has become an issue, in no small part due to our aging workforce. An increasing number of Baby Boomers are set to retire, and companies must turn to the younger generation to fill their roles — which may be problematic for those in the insurance industry. According to 2015 Millennial Leadership Survey, only 4% of Millennials are interested in this field.

In other words, organizations must look for new ways to attract and retain this younger category of workers. You can no longer rely on the old recruitment tactics, as Millennials don’t necessarily value the same things in a career that past generations have. The key question, then, is how do you make a career in insurance or financial services more attractive?

The Challenge for Insurers

At its core, the insurance and financial services sector is a purpose-driven industry that focuses on protecting families, finances, and futures. An admirable objective, but one with a particular blind spot: We don’t talk about things from a people perspective often enough, which may be the reason for the disconnect between younger generations and potential employers in the insurance industry.

LinkedIn’s Workplace Culture report found that 86% of Millennials would take a pay cut to work for a company that has values similar to their own. What if we began to discuss the social responsibility inherent in the work — could it change perceptions? How can we make insurance a more desirable career path for younger people?

And with Millennials making up one-third of the American workforce, according to Gallup, tapping into this desire for more purposeful work could certainly open up the talent pipeline. It also could potentially stave off this generation’s proclivity for job-hopping — Gallup also found that 60% of Millennials are open to new job opportunities at any given time.

Rules and regulations are important when it comes to protecting consumers, but they have created complicated systems. It’s time to refocus on the foundation of the insurance and financial services industry: protecting customers and their families, finances, and futures.

A recent survey of 64 insurance companies found that nearly 8,500 jobs were currently open. And while 36% of these companies expect hiring to improve with time, it may not make up for the more than 13,300 jobs that were set to open in the last three quarters of 2018 — unless, of course, we rethink the strategies used to attract and recruit talent.

Organizations like PIMA can assist with these strategies and help organizations arrive at more successful ways of recruiting and retaining talent. The following are three advantages for PIMA members:

1. Exposure to different points of view.
Research indicates the top thing distinguishing entrepreneurial leaders from more conventional ones is an openness to new experiences. PIMA exposes its members to a variety of different viewpoints through relationships outside their companies, which can inspire new ideas for recruiting and retaining talent.

2. Collaborate with like-minded people.
Collaboration has long been considered a powerful tool for business executives. It offers you an opportunity to inspire new ideas, grow your network, and learn from others in your industry, especially when those you're bringing a variety of different skill sets to the table. PIMA helps facilitate collaboration with a community that shares a goal similar to your own, delivering a great experience at every stage.

3. Access to the PIMA Career Center.
It's often said that we are each six degrees of separation from anyone on the planet. The insurance and financial services industry is far more connected than the general population, and many positions are filled through referrals. The PIMA Career Center can get your open positions in front of a targeted audience for referrals. And considering the PIMA community has 400-plus members, there's a great deal of power available.

Regardless of whether you choose to join forces with an organization like PIMA, you'll still need to develop new strategies for recruiting and retaining talent. Thankfully, adding great talent to your team has a way of attracting even more great talent. As with anything, it’s all about building momentum in your recruitment efforts — and getting a little help from friends.

PIMA® (Professional Insurance Marketing Association®) is a member-driven trade association focused exclusively on the group sponsored benefits market. For more information on membership click here.