How can the London insurance market attract young talent?

Written by Charlotte Forshaw who is 17 years old and currently doing a summer internship at r10, before she goes to the University of Liverpool to study Business Management.

What is considered as young talent?


Young talent is known as Millennials or Generation Y born between 1980 and 2000. Millennials have been characterised in several different ways. They have been negatively described as lazy, narcissistic and prone to jump from job to job because their work ethic is different to Generation X. However, they are regarded as being more open-minded, confident, self-expressive, more supportive of equal rights and receptive to new ideas and ways of living.


According to research conducted by the Griffith Insurance Education Foundation states that youth unemployment rates are worryingly high and those aged 16-24 are three times more likely to be jobless, as they are being neglected when it comes to career advice and training opportunities.

Why does the insurance industry fail to attract young talent?


The London insurance market struggles to attract young talent due to misinformation and the lack of awareness of the multiple opportunities and options that the industry offers. There is a misconception within the younger generation that the insurance industry has to offer only specific career paths, such as broking and underwriting, which discourages them to move into the insurance industry, if those paths do not seem appealing.


The Insurance Journal published statistics showing that over half of the professionals in the insurance industry are over the age of 45 with 25% expected to retire by 2018, this will open many positions in the industry by 2020 for young and experienced professionals.


The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation surveyed over 1,600 Millennials highlighting that only 5% of Millennials were familiar with the insurance industry and less than 1 in 10 said that they would be interested in working in the industry as it sounds ‘boring’. Contradicting the high unemployment rates among the youth, many Millennials particularly students said that they would like a career in analysing risks and recommending solutions, but they did not consider the insurance industry.


Thus, it is demonstrated that the insurance industry is disconnected from the younger generation and the statement of “falling into insurance” as a career path is still valid among the younger generation. The London Matters 2017 report supports the former statement as it is urging the insurance industry to increase the awareness of the insurance career options to attract young talent and fresh skills, in order to maintain its competitive advantage.

Why are Millennials disappointed when working within the traditional insurance industry?



When entering the working world after finishing University or taking the next step in their career, Generation Y has high expectations from the insurance industry (those that at least know about it). In a profitable industry as insurance, there are expectations that advanced technology will be used and operated. Also, Millennials would expect to work in modern environments, with good perks, work-life balance and opportunities to travel with work or leisure. Moreover, they expect that they will progress quickly and fairly within the industry utilising their qualifications and skills.



However, it can be shocking and disappointing for Generation Y entering the insurance industry, as it is not quite what they imagined. The working environment is not usually modern, but more formal and that can be off putting and daunting to young talent. Also, starting salaries are between £18,000 to £25,000, which is not viable for those living in London and those outside face additionally high travel expenses into London.


The technology is not as advanced as expected – barely matching the technology used at home. The insurance industry still uses telemarketing and direct mailing, which is also alien to Millenials. Furthermore, working with insurance products that are sold with long and ineffective processes, that do not reflect how Millennials would buy insurance could be demotivating.

What can young talent bring to the industry?


1. Fresh Attitude

Younger employees are likely to have the eagerness to learn, more likely to support change, give different perspectives and fresh ideas if kept motivated. They will bring energy, enthusiasm and determination that would help the employees’ morale in general. Therefore, the London market will be able to build a dynamic workforce to shape modernisation in the London insurance market.


2. Break the value chain

Millennials view on how to buy insurance and what products reflect the new generation, both personally and commercially, is vital for insurance market modernisation and innovation. It is proven that Millennials prefer to buy insurance from a digital broker as they are familiar with technology and find it more convenient. For example, a group of fresh talent broke the value chain and found a startup called ‘Brolly’, an artificially intelligent insurance advisory application which helps customers understand their insurance needs and provide purchase options online. It is important for the industry to be appealing to young talent and reflect their ideas and expectations to the insurance value chain, as they will be eventually buying insurance for themselves, families and businesses.


3. Diverse talent

For the London insurance market to maintain its competitive advantage it needs a plethora of skills to promote diverse views and capabilities. Attracting diverse skills across its value chain, such as marketing, IT specialists, data analysts and more, to ensure a high standard customer experience is delivered and operational efficiency is achieved. Young talent is highly educated, more mobile than ever and determined to support changes if the fundamentals of the industry attract them.

How the London insurance market can attract young talent


To attract fresh young talent to companies in insurance they should ensure that they promote themselves in a “younger” way.


1. Work Environment

Organisations in the insurance industry should consider adopting a “young” working environment to attract young talent, with a more fun and relaxed atmosphere. Millennials are attracted to work environments that are playful and the ways of working are flexible. An example of this would be the Google offices which are quirky with various areas to work in, such as break out and cosy areas. The younger generation is attracted to flexible working hours and promotion of work-life balance. They are ambitious and hard working with the drive to succeed, regardless of where and when they are working. Promoting a more relaxed, modern and high tech working environment, they are more likely to feel motivated and attracted to the industry.


2. Technology and visibility of insurance companies online

The insurance industry is lacking in modern technology, as legacy systems are still used and modern technology does not always support employees efficiency. Most of the Millennials were born with the internet, mobile devices and social media. Therefore, it is important that the London insurance market upgrades their systems and technology as this would attract the younger generation. New advanced technology also opens job opportunities as the business must employ people to monitor and operate the technical systems. The digital presence of organisations in the insurance market will attract young talent and clients. To portray a positive image insurance companies would need to maintain their online presence active, with various creative initiatives that follow the trends.


3. Career fairs and professional networks

Insurance companies’ events should be promoted with “modern” ways to attract young talent. For example, attending career fair events, launching “pop-ups” in areas that young people go to present their culture and innovations and more. It will enable insurance companies to educate school and university leavers about the industry; thus change their opinions and give them a better understanding of the variety of job opportunities available. Also, it is a great opportunity to attract talent that the industry wouldn’t, such as people from other countries and backgrounds who have diverse skills to offer to the industry. Millennials may also be attracted to the insurance industry if the recruitment and selection process was simpler and equal opportunities were given solely on skills and determination to develop them. The insurance industry should keep an open mind to educational backgrounds and academic achievements that were achieved outside of the UK. Organisations should consider adapting their recruitment process to attract the younger generation e.g. applying online through short questions or videos which are more appealing to the younger generation and a quicker process.

“Younger” ways of working will attract young talent


The London market needs to transform its ways of working to attract the younger generation and talent, and stop having people falling into it. The younger generation asks for an industry with higher visibility that gives the freedom to adjust their working style, without affecting the time and quality of tasks, enabling them to reach their full potential.