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The risk management and insurance sector has a lot of work to do to integrate millennials into its workforce, including using the right channels to recruit them and offering them the mentorship programs they value.
By 2025, millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Some surveys show that up to 40% of the insurance industry's workforce will be eligible for retirement in the next 10 to 12 years, but the vast majority of college seniors do not know much about the insurance industry or have no interest in it, Melissa Dunn, Warrenville, Illinois-based vice president and managing director for third-party administrator Helmsman Management Services L.L.C., told a session at the Risk & Insurance Management Society Inc.'s annual conference in San Diego on Tuesday.
“I know that there are challenges, but I take that as opportunities to change the perceptions that millennials have,” said Stephanie Conner, senior analyst for risk management with the Walt Disney Co. based in Glendale, California.
The industry has to do a better job of marketing its desirable attributes, such as average pay that is $16,000 higher than the mean wage of all U.S. occupations and the stability that comes with the constant need for insurance, Ms. Dunn said. Tapping the right channels to reach millennials — such as games, apps and YouTube videos — is critical, she said.
“We have to go out and find them where they live, and this is where they live,” she said. “I have a house full of teenagers, and they're never more than two inches from their cellphones.”
Disney's risk management team has seen a major shift in its demographics in recent years, with 19% of its roughly 40-member team, including Ms. Conner, part of the millennial generation, compared with only 6% in 2011.
For millennials, the importance of mentorship cannot be overstated, Ms. Conner said, citing her relationship with her mentor, Stephen Wilder, Disney's long-time vice president of risk management.
“I never want to disappoint my mentor,” she said. “I'm lucky enough to have a great mentor in our risk manager, Steve. I think there's a great opportunity for both baby boomers and millennials to make that connection.”