The Last Word
Insurance Jobs Hold Steady During Economic Upheaval Created by Pandemic
Employment in the sector is projected to increase through the year, primarily in areas such as technology, underwriting and claims.
- Lori Chordas
- February 2021
Despite the economic upheaval created by COVID-19, which has forced businesses to cut jobs or shut down altogether, the insurance sector continues its history of resiliency—posting a 3.0% unemployment rate for December 2020, compared to the 6.7% national rate.
And the insurance job market is projected to keep growing this year, adding as many as 20,000 more positions, said Greg Jacobson, CEO of insurance executive search and staffing firm The Jacobson Group.
As 2020 drew to a close, the industry added 4,900 jobs in December, according to the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. While less than the 6,700 jobs added in October, it is significant because more than 6 million new cases of COVID-19 in the United States were found in December.
This year, 83% of employers in the insurance sector plan to maintain or increase staff, according to an Insurance Labor Market Study released by Jacobson and Aon plc in August 2020.
Technology, underwriting and analytics roles are expected to be in high demand, Jacobson said.
The industry also will see a rising number of claims adjuster, account manager and producer posts—many available because of the tsunami of retiring baby boomers, a trend expected to continue for the next 10 years, added Jeff Gipson, an executive search consultant at The James Allen Cos., an insurance staffing and recruiting services firm. But this positive job news presents a challenge for employers, who have long struggled to attract new talent and entice employees from other sectors to join the world of insurance.
This time, however, could be different. Many insurers, wholesalers and other industry professionals have “started doing a much better job at bringing young professionals into their development programs to fill those needs,” Jacobson said. And many of those recruits are coming into the sector with much-needed skills such as change management, innovation and entrepreneurial savvy, he added.
Still, the pandemic has forced human resources departments to find new ways to recruit, interview and hire when in-person conversations are not practical during quarantines. The transition to remote recruiting and other digital strategies has allowed employers to more easily and economically recruit candidates across geographies, thereby creating a much larger talent pool, Jacobson said.
While other industries may struggle to regain their footing after the pandemic subsides, the insurance sector is well positioned to “continue to be a very strong job market for individuals who want to consider new opportunities,” he said. It will, however, remain highly competitive, “so insurers need to put processes and approaches in place that are geared not only toward attracting candidates but also evaluating them.”