The developing talent gap is a growing concern in the insurance industry. However I would argue, counterintuitively, that the talent gap is in fact slowly getting smaller, but we simply can't see it now because most probably still think of the insurance industry as blue chips in suits with a bit of infrastructure around them. Well, it's about time to push the limits then, isn't it?
I like the spirit of Keith Wolfe's article posted by Robin Merttens. Although I don't think it is difficult to explain what the (re)insurance is to the millennials. Moreover, I doubt that any of them would be put off by the "boring" substance otherwise Hoxton and Shoreditch would be less crowded places today. In my view the reason is rather a suit and 9 to 5 working hours than a risk-adjusted capital or a waiver of subrogation.
It's not difficult to get a rational buy-in from a young talent, they are smart. So that is an easy bit. The difficult one is to win them emotionally in the first place. Top graduates nowadays are hardly attracted by an important title on a business card, they do not understand 'one size fits all' performance management, don't like a large group personnel policy, process-driven working environment, hierarchy, should I go on? By the way it's applicable to many other industries, not only insurance and reinsurance.
Over the past two years while growing a small business in the reinsurance space we did not experience a shortage of a young talent talking to us with a genuine interest to pursue a career in the insurance industry. The extreme case was a smart guy in his mid-twenties genuinely interested in the insurance who tried to get a job with a large insurer in London three years in a row. He finally got it, but he left after a year because he could not stand the environment. Now he is setting up his own business. Yes, in the insurance industry.
Here is a Gedankenexperiment. What if Google, Apple and other "cooler places to work" announce tomorrow that they are going to invest 10% of its capital into its own brand new insurance company. Do you think they will face difficulties of attracting young talent? Well, unlikely. But it's highly likely that the insurance industry will fairly quickly face another issue - retaining its core staff may get cumbersome.
I suggest being more specific about how we can attract a young talent to the insurance industry. The young talent is already there, doing its own thing how they want to do it and not how big boys want them to do it. Still the capital, resources and hundreds of years of experience is with the large players. So, large players, are you bold enough to move to Shoreditch or at least put some tennis tables in Corney & Barrow next to Lloyd's?
There is however talent gap developing - too many twenty -somethings see an analogue world run by a bunch of suits and rush off to join a start up in Hoxton for less pay (often no pay) because its more exciting and they can play table tennis at lunch.