Having fallen into insurance myself a few years ago, I recently started to wonder why almost everyone in the industry has ‘fallen’ into it, rather than making a conscious career decision to enter insurance.
When I picked up a role at an insurance brokerage three years ago while completing my Arts degree, I had absolutely no aspirations to enter the industry. But now I couldn’t be more passionate about it. That’s not uncommon: regardless to how we find our way into insurance, almost everyone plans to stay.
The reality is that there is a total is lack of awareness of the opportunities in insurance. It has been my experience that the insurance industry has almost no profile amongst young school age people, particularly at the formative time when they are considering careers and the associated qualifications they will require.
So, what can we do to educate the professionals of tomorrow about insurance, and turn it into a conscious career choice? To start with, we can learn lessons from other professions. Having attended numerous career expos throughout my schooling years it was always the accounting and legal firms that held the “office job” spotlight. Despite their strong presence, the competitive nature of entry to these industries creates great anxiety and stress for the applicants.
The insurance industry can provide an alternative for these stressed students. We can talk to them and provide them with more working opportunities– such as summer vacation work.
These types of programs are mutually beneficial to both the industry as well as the next generation of young professionals. Insurance companies will have the opportunity to showcase their career opportunities whilst being able to identify and employ young talent. For students it provides much needed transparency, allowing for the opportunity to realise the wealth of opportunities that the industry has to offer.
ssociations have a key role to play too. While the insurance industry already has a strong sense of community, the presence of associations such as Young Insurance Professionals Australia & NZ (YIPs) and programs such as the NIBA mentoring program provide fantastic opportunities to professionals to help engage young people.
But we can do more. Since starting in the industry, YIPs in particular has provided me and many other young professionals with a network of young professionals, providing continual support in career development. We are now taking action to bring on the next generation of professionals, starting discussions with schools and universities to provide careers counsellors with greater information about the insurance industry and the vast opportunities present. If you’d like to join our mission, please get in touch at www.yips.org.au
Kathryn Considine is the Australasian Media & Communications Officer of Young Insurance Professionals Australia & New Zealand