North Texas Insurance Companies Face Talent Shortage

A new study says 25 percent of the insurance industry workforce will retire by the end of 2018

The insurance industry is facing a major talent shortage, and with at least three insurance companies housing large corporate offices in North Texas, the push for new talent is local.

According to a study from the Jacobson Group: 25 percent of the current insurance industry workforce is expected to retire by 2018 opening up around 400,000 positions. The same study reported the number of insurance workers over age 55 was forecast to grow by 25 percent from 2008 to 2016, while the number of workers between ages 35 and 44 will decline by three percent.

Take into account that nearly half the workforce will be millennials in the next few years and the industry could be looking at a shortage.

"The jobs are there. If you look at the industry right now there's a graying of the industry and we're needing it to be filled," said Mark Hanna of the Insurance Council of Texas. Hanna was in North Texas on Wednesday, shooting a recruitment video aimed at students. In the video, he asked young employees about the perks that brought them on board and how they find value in their work.

Hanna said he is trying to highlight the innovative aspects of working in insurance to reach a millennial audience.

"When you mention the word insurance to a lot of people, it's a turn off. It's like 'Oh my gosh, who wants to do that?' But, there's everything from IT to security to claims," Hanna said. "There's a limitless number of jobs."

At State Farm's Richardson campus, 25-year-old Perry Wu recalls attending his college's engineering career fair and noticing an insurance recruitment booth seemed out of place.

"You sell insurance, why are you looking for IT professionals?" Wu asked. He said the recruiter was friendly and Wu gave the idea a chance. "They showed me exactly what I'll be doing and what they have done, what kind of support goes into the insurance industry."

Wu has worked at State Farm for a year as a software developer and acknowledged fellow millennials don't always understand the draw.

"I explain to them the IT background, the technologies that they adapt, the problems that they could solve," Wu said. "It kind of makes sense and falls into place."

Wu said above all else, it was the work culture that sold him on the job.

"The people here are the most interesting, they're bright, they're smart," he said. "They really like to see you succeed."

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