In an earlier post I shared some stats on ethnicity from the recent insurance census, which also alludes to the lower than average number of young people that work in insurance (10% of employees are 18-24 yr olds against a national average of 12.4%).
The subject of attracting young people to the insurance sector has been, and will continue to be, discussed extensively - and perhaps with good cause. The average age of the insurance professional is now 39 years, a number that has risen over the last couple of years from 36.5. However, with an increasing 'millennial' population in the workforce and a large number of people due to retire from insurance, this figure may start to drop again.
Is the insurance industry putting too much emphasis on youth employment?
We are regularly told that we are living longer as a population, and the state pension age is slowly going up also... Is there perhaps scope to capitalise on the breadth of talent that exists at the other end of the age scale?
I am guilty of encouraging people to think long term when being asked about their ambitions, e.g. where do you see yourself in 10 or 20 years? This is in response to my own experiences of recruiting in to the insurance sector... Employers like to invest in employees over the long term - understandably so - and want to keep the talent with them for as long as possible.
However, despite the flat structures, and minimal hierarchy many organisations claim, the fact remains that there are more people at the low end of the pay scale than there are at the top. Employees are encouraged to strive for 'advancement' to more senior positions - and yet companies remain pyramids, much as they might claim otherwise - 2000 junior staff members can't all become part of the exec committee...
Don't get me wrong, I know there are a lot of career paths, but often individuals potential can be stifled and they can enter career-apathy. So it can be good for both the employer and the employee if that person moves elsewhere - the company can recruit someone more motivated, and the (former) employee can regain their enthusiasm in a new environment.
I've gone off point a little... to bring it back to the subject at hand: there is a lot of talent of all ages that employers can capitalise on, and in a society of ageing populations (and shrinking pension funds) there is as much enthusiasm at both ends of the age scale to do a good job for your employer.
I agree with a comment that was made in response to a previous post - diversity is not just about age, ethnicity, or gender, but is equally about a diversity of thought.
We are all products of our experiences. And the experience of someone who has lived their entire life with the internet, and someone who still remembers when all TV was black and white, have equal relevance to the insurance sector's diverse customer base.
I am a huge advocate of the InsurTech evolution. I believe that it will define insurance for younger generations and has the potential to change the way the industry supports its Clients. However, many InsurTech firms are focusing on the digital customer and forgetting the analogue individual who has just as much need for protection and risk management. Perhaps this is because of their experiences and view of the world...
I am not suggesting that all young people should work for Insurtech firms, and everyone over the age of 45 should be working in the incumbent space.
What I am suggesting is that we all recognise the value of varied perspectives.
The more angles you look at something from, the more varied your response to a problem, surely the more relevant a solution you can ultimately come up with. If you speak in an echo chamber, you will only hear one opinion...