What do students want in insurance internships and job opportunities?

One factor plays a strong influence on young people's preferences

What do students want in insurance internships and job opportunities?

Diversity & Inclusion

By Gia Snape

Students interested in insurance careers are increasingly looking at employers’ healthcare packages, flexible work arrangements, and meaningful work opportunities. That’s according to Gamma Iota Sigma’s (GIS) 2022 recruiting survey report.

The findings reflect students’ shifting priorities amid the influence of COVID-19 across the corporate landscape.

“One of the most surprising things for our industry partners is that students’ top consideration when they’re looking at compensation is healthcare,” said Grace Grant (pictured), executive director of GIS, a professional fraternity with 100 collegiate chapters across the United States.

“Healthcare has stayed at the very top, even over salary. We think that stems from the environment we've been living in for the last three years,” Grant said.

Gamma Iota Sigma has partnerships with around 150 universities, representing about 5,000 students of risk management, actuarial science, business, finance, and related fields of study.

The organization also boasts diverse representation, with a close to 50-50 breakdown in terms of gender, according to Grant. Additionally, around 30% of its students are members of minority groups, while about 10% are international students.

“We have a good representation of the pipeline entering the insurance industry and extensive reach in the university landscape, which positions us well to conduct this survey,” said Grant, who has been named to Insurance Business America’s 2021 Elite Women list and the 2022 Hot 100.

What are students looking for in full-time insurance job opportunities?

The GIS survey found that students were evaluating insurance organizations based on the following factors:

  • Culture
  • Reputation
  • Location
  • Size (in terms of number of employees)

A key finding from the report was the number of students were willing to relocate from their home states for the right employer has dropped to 55%, from 73% in the year prior.

With remote opportunities growing, students are increasingly prioritizing flexible and hybrid work – another pandemic side effect.

“We have found that students are looking for good hybrid opportunities; even when they relocate, they're not looking to work in an office five days a week,” Grant said.

“Graduates are finding that they can stay home or live where they want to live because of remote opportunities.”

Despite the drop, Grant stressed that the relocation aspect has significant implications for insurance companies’ recruitment strategies.

“It reinforces the idea that recruiters need to be looking outside of their backyard,” she said. “They need to be looking across the country, especially in this remote virtual environment we’re in today.”

What are students looking for from insurance internships?

Fierce competition in the labor market means insurance companies must start attracting potential talents young. One of the best ways to do this is to make internship opportunities as attractive as possible.

Opportunities for full-time work rose to claim the top spot in students’ wish list for internships, according to the GIS survey. Young survey respondents wanted to ensure that they would be able to convert a successful internship into a full-time job offer.

“It speaks to students wanting to utilize their internship as a test drive for their employer just as much as the employer is viewing it as a test drive for that potential candidate,” Grant said.

Rotational programs, which allows students to be exposed to different parts of an organization or the insurance process, has been a top factor for a few years, but fell to the second spot this year.

Finally, a key factor that influences whether students found an internship productive and enjoyable is meaningful work assignments. Other considerations include networking opportunities, compensation, and mentoring.

“Students are not looking to come in and file papers. They’re not looking for those menial tasks; they're looking to get involved, be plugged into a project that matters, and get a feel for the work and the culture,” said Grant.

What aspect of the insurance industry should employers highlight to students?

With everything that students are looking for, how can insurance differentiate itself from the crop of similarly high-paying, flexible industries?

“Recruiters and employers should definitely home in on [the fact that] this industry is incredibly philanthropic,” answered Grant.

“It's very good at giving back and having a deeper purpose. Everything that we're doing ultimately is serving and supporting people. Outside of the mechanism of insurance, there's a lot of great community initiatives across the insurance industry.

“That’s a great thing we can share with future candidates because this generation wants to know that they’re doing something meaningful, that their careers matter and have a greater purpose.

“The combination of earning potential, stability, and philanthropy across the industry is how we’re going to attract talent.”

Do you have any thoughts about this story? Let us know in the comments below.

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