Opening eyes to insurance

Opening eyes to insurance | Insurance Business

Opening eyes to insurance
It’s a challenge that continues to confront the global insurance industry.

As the next generation of leaders enters the workforce, conversation continues as to how best to attract top talent. How does the industry put itself in the mix when young jobseekers make career decisions? And how does the industry hang onto high calibre new recruits?

On 25 February, the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) launched its Careers in Insurance initiative, its own endeavour to try to ensure work in the industry is on the radars of young Australians.

Careers in Insurance was developed in partnership with the National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) and the industry through ANZIIF’s Corporate Supporter Program.

The launch kicked off with ANZIIF unveiling a new website that helps young people to learn about the roles on offer in insurance and the diverse career paths that one may take.

“The website is just one component of Careers in Insurance but it serves an important function,” says Meg Brideson, ANZIIF’s general manager – marketing and insights.

“When we engage with young people… we want them to be able to explore the industry. The website supports that because you can discover the roles you could work in, use the personality function to find where you’d fit, and find practical tips and advice on how to get into insurance.

“Importantly, the site is also designed to connect young people and the industry, whether it be for work experience, internships, graduate positions or simply entry level positions where no experience is necessary.”

Brideson says it’s all about engaging young jobseekers “in a world where all things are possible”.

“ ‘Go anywhere. Do anything.’ is our slogan for the program and perfectly captures what insurance offers those working in it,” she says.

Jobseekers can upload their CV directly to the website, which can then be sent to recruitment teams.

“This functionality was popular at the university careers fairs, as we have made it incredibly easy for them to access the opportunities that exist,” Brideson says.

A job board can link students and jobseekers with potential employees.

“Given the demographic we are targeting, we also have a full social media campaign designed to engage with young people in a way that is relevant,” Brideson adds. “We have also created school and university presentation guides so that anyone from the industry can get involved and talk about careers in insurance.”

Improving visibility
The launch of this initiative follows research ANZIIF conducted in February with under 35s in the industry. In that research, 76.1% of respondents said that, before joining the industry, insurance either had no, or minimal, visibility, and 62.7% said they ‘fell into’ insurance.

But there is some good news, Brideson tells Insurance Business.

“Based on our initial research and working at our first careers fair, where we met hundreds of young people and graduates, we have not seen a negative attitude to working in insurance.

“What we have seen is incredible enthusiasm and amazement as they learn about how dynamic and important the industry is. The problem is not an attitude towards insurance but rather the industry’s lack of visibility. When we speak with young people about the opportunities in the industry and the careers that are available, they immediately want to know what they need to do to become part of it.”

Brideson also raises some particularly interesting early findings to emerge from the research.

“While the data is still being analysed, there are really positive and healthy signs that young people are engaged with insurance and love working in this industry,” she says.

“Of particular note is that 80% of under 35s believe they will still be working in insurance in five years’ time and 86.7% would recommend it as a great industry to join.”

Corporate support
A major corporate supporter of ANZIIF’s Careers in Insurance is QBE.

“I think it’s a great initiative, and we’ve very happy to support it,” says Sally Kincaid, chief human resources officer for QBE’s Australian and New Zealand operations.

“We have recently asked our employees what they love about their jobs and the variety and opportunities feature highly. However, for graduates or people looking from the outside in, it’s really up to us in the insurance sector to help people understand what those opportunities and benefits are,” she says.

“From our experience, when you do articulate that well through your employment value proposition, you don’t have a problem attracting young people to the insurance sector. We are always oversubscribed when we’re on campus for our graduate recruitment program.”

Kincaid says other industries are currently doing a better job of branding themselves and the opportunities they’re presenting therefore look more exciting than those available in insurance.

“We’ve also seen an emphasis on social conscience coming through with the grads that we meet,” she adds. “Frankly, I think that’s a real opportunity for insurance because the whole sector is based on being there for people in their moment of need… I think we’ve got an opportunity to really play to that aspect of why insurance even exists.”

Kincaid also believes grads tend to opt for sectors already well advanced and mature in their thinking around how technology can drive innovation in those sectors.

“If you look at the kind of environments that they want to join, they want to join a disrupted, highly challenging environment and they don’t see traditional insurance in that sort of light.”

In its own efforts to provide industry newcomers a positive introduction to insurance, QBE runs an 18-month graduate program that rotates participants through the business.

“That’s probably the real beauty of our program, in that grads get to experience a variety of business lines at QBE before they make a decision about where they would like to launch their career,” Kincaid says.

“For example, a grad might move through claims and to sales and distribution, being supported by a manager and mentor who can help them make a decision on what role they may be best suited to after the rotation program.”

The QBE Graduate Program also offers participants six weeks of volunteering opportunities, and soft skills and personal development training. Additionally, there are ultimately potential opportunities for local QBE employees to work internationally within the business.

“When you’re in your twenties, the opportunity to live and work overseas is often very attractive. By joining our grad program, that’s certainly a possibility for our people in their career at QBE.”

And according to Kincaid, it’s not just about younger generations for QBE. There’s also a concerted eff ort to make sure the organisation represents the diversity in the wider community. Last year, the insurer was recognised at the Australian HR Awards not only as an Employer of Choice, but as winner of the Best Diversity and Inclusion Program Award.

“When you have a wider group of backgrounds and experience at the decision-making table, it brings a level of innovation and new thought processes that we think add a great deal to the environment of QBE, and also help create business solutions to meet customers’ needs.”

A team effort
Brideson says ANZIIF will continue its involvement at various university open days and high school career nights.

“Based on the enthusiasm of young people to our presence at our fi rst careers fair, we need to get more involved in these,” she says.

Discussing ongoing industry support of Careers in Insurance, she says there are a number of ways people can get involved.

“The most obvious is to become a Corporate Supporter. To keep this program invigorated and to ensure the ongoing presence at universities and schools, the program needs to be funded,” she says.

“We are also looking for volunteers who can engage with young people at universities and high schools, and we have had incredibly passionate, driven professionals already join us at our first events.

“The industry can also support Careers in Insurance by getting engaged through social media – share your photos and stories, share the website with family and friends to increase their exposure. All of this will help to make it a career option for your children and their friends.”

The Careers in Insurance website can be found at