With the end of Insurance Careers Month, we thought it would be appropriate to talk about some of the ways we have been attracting new talent to the insurance industry and to our organization. Finding new talent is a struggle for many businesses regardless of the industry. Like many of our lumber and wood customers, we have a rapidly aging workforce and a need for new, diverse talent to help further grow our business into the future.
The U.S Bureau of Labor is projecting that in the next 15 years, the insurance industry workforce will be reduced by 50%. Additionally, almost 40% of firms are still owned by Baby Boomers. With such a daunting outlook, it is imperative that we find new talent and ways to develop the future leaders of our organization.
PLM has explored different approaches to recruiting and developing young employees. No matter your industry, whether it be insurance or lumber, similar methods of recruitment and development can be implemented in your organization.
The earlier companies reach out to students and expose them to the potential benefits and opportunities of a career in their industry, the better they’ll prepare those young people for future success.
One way that the insurance industry has done this is through Invest, a national program that educates high school and community college students on insurance, financial services and risk management topics. By introducing insurance education programs in schools across the country, young people are being encouraged to pursue a variety of careers in the insurance industry.
PLM participates in the work-study program with Cristo Rey Philadelphia High School. The Cristo Rey work-study program allows driven and talented students from underprivileged communities to gain work experience one day a week, learn real-world skills, and earn money they can put toward their college education. In addition, it introduces these students to the value of a career in insurance and risk management. We offer our students hands-on work experience and mentorship opportunities to foster a passion for working in the insurance industry. We are proud of the success of this program which is further evident with the recent hire of a past Cristo Rey intern after they went on and graduated college to later become a full-time PLM employee.
Build a College Internship Program
As college students explore and discover new possible career paths, a traditional internship is a great way to highlight the specialties within your industry and possible career trajectories, as well as offer a gateway into potential post-college job opportunities.
PLM interns come to us from local universities as well as through our involvement with organizations such as Gamma Iota Sigma, a national fraternity of student members interested in insurance, risk management, and actuarial science as professions.
At PLM, we offer internships to college students at their sophomore year and follow up with a junior-year internship. If they complete their junior year internship, we usually offer them a position upon graduation. If the job offer is accepted, they receive $5,000 toward their senior year of college. We also pay 100% of any insurance or professional development courses they take during their internships, including Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) courses.
Internships should be more than just getting coffee or basic work experience. Candidates today are looking for additional exposure such as mentorships and job shadowing. PLM internships are a hands-on work experience across the company, so students have the opportunity to envision a future for themselves within the industry or even at that company. Our interns rotate through all our departments, meeting seasoned professionals and gaining experience in everything from underwriting, sales and legal to marketing, accounting, and customer service. Our interns also visit customers and prospects with our Loss Control and Business Development Representatives.
In 2020, four of our five interns received job offers. In 2021, all five of our interns received job offers.
Investing in People
Finally, building that winning team starts with investing in your people. From new employees to veterans in the industry, everyone at PLM is involved in some form of continuing education.
PLM firmly believes that company growth starts with employee development. We fully fund continuing education in general business and insurance and encourage our people to pursue industry designations. Currently, 99% of our team participates in insurance courses at the college level. Last year 150 people took 168 courses and their accompanying exams. 20 people earned insurance designations.
PLM also supports employees who want to enroll or finish their college degrees. In fact, last year, two people completed their college education. We also have a program to help support employees looking for advanced degrees once they have achieved a certain insurance professional designation. In 2021, one of our employees, earned a Master in Business Administration.
We also actively invest in building the next leaders in our organization. Promising new managers are given leadership development support and training with the Center for Creative Leadership. They are also rotated around the different departments of the organization through a robust internal coaching program to get a comprehensive understanding of all the facets of PLM.
PLM is constantly reaching out to students in both traditional and non-traditional ways to teach them about our industry and to show them the potential rewards of a career in our specialty. Igniting a young person’s interest in a career in your industry takes time and finesse. But once you invest the time and help them see and experience your specialty for themselves, you’ll spark a lifelong passion for learning and light their way toward an enriching career to help both your company and your industry to grow stronger.