Looking to Hire Next-Gen Insurance Talent? How About Leveraging In-Person Events?
While there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to help us uncover new talent in the insurance and risk management industry, there are tangible resources and opportunities available to comprehensively and effectively attract new talent. Not a novel concept by any stretch, industry conferences, career fairs and other in-person events remain fertile ground for identifying fervent young insurance professionals and introduce them to what your company has to offer.
With a few years behind us since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, industry conferences and networking events are finally back and seemingly in full force. And with remote work now more of the norm, people are craving in-person interactions. Even members of Gen Z — who many may assume prefer to communicate via text, email or social media — have been enthusiastic to attend industry events and networking opportunities, eager for face time and real-time feedback.
For young professionals, conferences, career fairs and networking events offer an opportunity to learn more about the industry, make connections and possibly even secure an internship, job or mentor and envision their own potential career trajectory in our industry.
While we recognize that these venues are ripe for recruiting talented students with an interest in insurance and risk management, what are the best ways leaders can get their companies in front of these up-and-comers to showcase what they have to offer?
Making It Personal
According to Gamma Iota Sigma’s (GIS) most recent annual recruiting survey, 70% of next-gen talent (students and recent alumni) seek in-person interaction. With this in mind, GIS hosts one of the largest career fairs for early risk and/or insurance-focused talent at the GIS Annual Conference. And while these young people are looking for jobs online and through social media, their preferred venues for job hunting are in-person career fairs. Nearly 32% of those surveyed reported that career fairs were a primary place where they planned to look for a job.
Not only do company leaders gain access to young professionals seeking careers in insurance through these events, they have the opportunity to frame how the young professionals will see their company. At these events, company representatives have an ideal opportunity to debunk misconceptions that our ideas and people are stodgy and unimaginative. These events allow company representatives to showcase innovation, technology, culture, opportunities for growth and more.
Leveraging Your Company’s Event Attendance
Students attending these conferences, career fairs and industry networking events have, in a sense, already committed to the insurance and risk management industry. They’ve chosen our industry as their field of study. So, how can your company leverage its presence at an industry conference, trade show or networking event to demonstrate that your particular sector of the business, your company, is one they should consider for employment? Below are several best practices to help your company woo new talent at your next conference or event:
- Bring the C-suite: Showcase company executives and human resources team members, as well as recent graduates or people who are newer to the company and can easily relate to and engage with students. Students want access to a diverse array of leaders and professionals they find relatable.
- Host workshops: Consider getting your company involved in résumé reviews, leading education sessions, offering mock interviews or hosting industry roundtables at conferences.
- Highlight innovation: The GIS annual recruiting survey found that nearly 10% of those surveyed reported innovation as their leading consideration for pursuing insurance as a field of study. If more young people understood how our industry is pioneering risk mitigation strategies and products to address natural disasters, climate change and even social issues, we would be able to attract even more.
- Showcase impact: Nearly 15% of young people surveyed by GIS pointed to the philanthropic nature of the industry as a leading consideration as to why they chose the field. Highlight your philanthropic and charitable initiatives and their impact on the community, as well as opportunities for team members to get involved.
- Demonstrate a commitment to diversity: Invite a diverse group of representatives from your company with a variety of job descriptions to attend the in-person event. This will help to demonstrate your company’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
- Lay out career paths: Talk about different areas of the industry to help young people find facets of the industry that interest them. Tell them about training programs and professional development opportunities offered by your company, as well as rotational experiences.
Finally, after the conference or event, be sure to follow up with these individuals. Connect with them on LinkedIn, stay in contact via email, and pass along their information to your recruiting team or hiring managers where appropriate.
It’s fair to say that we’re all happy to have the opportunity to convene and network in person once again. Industry events have helped many of us to grow our own professional networks over the years. While the world may be becoming increasingly virtual, insurance leadership would be wise not to overlook the value that in-person events continue to bring to building the workforce of tomorrow. &
Grace Grant, executive director for Gamma Iota Sigma, has more than 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, including 10 years of insurance industry nonprofit leadership. Grace will be welcoming GIS students, alumni and insurance and risk management professionals to Gamma Iota Sigma’s 2023 Annual Conference September 28 and 29 in Baltimore, Maryland.