Tag Archives: talent gap

The Talent Crisis — and Opportunity

A recent survey by PwC found that nearly two-thirds of employees in the U.S., including executives, are looking for a new job. That number is stunning.

It suggests that insurers need to play some serious defense, to keep employees happy and on board and to keep competitors from poaching talent. But it also illuminates an opportunity to play offense. If lots of employees are looking for a new position, then, by all means, let’s go get the best we can.

As someone who chose to get involved with insurance eight years ago because of what I saw as a huge opportunity for digital innovation, I’ve always been struck by the industry’s inferiority complex. People talk about how they fell into insurance, rather than choosing it. Many talk about the industry as slow-moving and boring.

In fact, it seems to me that insurance combines a noble purpose with a great opportunity — a chance to use digital technology to “put a dent in the universe,” as Steve Jobs once memorably put it. As we’ve seen over the past several years, insurers are not just using technology to be more efficient but to make life easier for customers, whether buying a policy, requesting information or service or filing a claim. And we’re barely past the starting line. In time, I believe, the industry will be able to focus on preventing losses, rather than (the already important role of ) making people whole following losses. I also think insurance can play a key role in mitigating climate change by translating future risks into dollars-and-cents calculations today that will steer clients in the right direction.

So, why not take advantage of people’s current itch to reconsider their career choices? Why not make a pitch for people to enter the insurance field, where they can play a role in reinventing a multitrillion-dollar industry that provides the bedrock for all others by handling their risks?

As I said, we’ll all have to play defense, too. The PwC survey of 1,007 U.S. based employees and 752 executives found that many were in search of better salaries and benefits — benefits being a blind spot for many executives, who underestimated their importance to employees. The key ones cited in the report are: expanded flexibility, career growth, well-being and upskilling.

I’d underline the role of expanded flexibility, at least over the next year or so. I think many people will be swayed by what the work environment will be like once the pandemic finally recedes far enough for the vast majority of offices to reopen — with, I imagine, at least some flexibility to work remotely being a key desire.

And these concerns aren’t idle. Not only did 64% of those surveyed in August say they were looking for employment, up from 36% in May, but nine out of 10 executives said they were seeing abnormally high turnover in their organizations.

But I think insurance is already making bigger strides than most industries to become a more attractive place to work, in particular by continuously automating more and more of the entering (and reentering and checking and fixing and…) of the information that insurers require. And the trend is accelerating. So much more of the mundane work processing documents will be taken over by computers, freeing us humans to tackle far-more-fulfilling problems.

As an ITL thought leader wrote not long ago, it’s one thing to pitch prospects on a career of checking the fine print in a legal contract. It’s a whole other thing to tell them that we’ll equip them with the most advanced tools available to reinvent one of the world’s core industries.

Now is a great time to make that pitch.



A Manufacturing Risk: the Talent Gap

Twenty five years ago labor experts warned employers about an impending shortage in the skilled manufacturing workforce caused by the soon-to-be-departing baby boomers. Almost no one listened.

Those few employers who did realized preparation meant investing in training. Investment = money so many employers put it off, especially during the Great Recession of 2008 – 2010.

So here we are America … needing to fill 3.5 million manufacturing jobs in the next 10 years, according to the Deloitte publication, The Skills Gap in U.S. Manufacturing 2015 & Beyond.”

Deloitte opines that we’ll be lucky to fill 1.5 million of those openings, leaving a gap of 2 million jobs. This potential shortfall didn’t go unnoticed by Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), a manufacturer of class 5-8 commercial vehicles, school buses, and heavy-duty to mid-range diesel engines. The company saw this bullet coming years ago.

See also: Insurance And Manufacturing: Lessons In Software, Systems, And Supply Chains  

To those in the know, the skilled workforce shortage conundrum isn’t new. As far back as 1990, the National Center on Education and the Economy identified this job shortfall in its report, “The American Workforce – America’s Choice: High Skills or Low Wages,” stating large investments in training were needed to prepare for the slow workforce growth.

If you look at the burgeoning skills gap, coupled with vanishing high school vocational programs, how, as an employer, do you recruit potential candidates?

To not address the millennials’ employer predilections is to miss an opportunity to tap into a vast resource of potential talent.

DTNA addresses the issue by reaching out to high schools throughout the U.S. via the Daimler Educational Outreach Program, which focuses on giving to qualified organizations that support public high school educational programs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), CTE (career technical education), and skilled trades’ career development.

Daimler also works in concert with school districts to conduct week-long technology schools in one of the manufacturing facilities, all in an effort to encourage students to consider manufacturing (either skilled or technical) as a vocation.

Like all forward-looking companies, Daimler must address the needs of the millennials who – among a number of their desires – want to make the world a better place. Jamie Gutfreund, chief strategy officer for the Intelligence Group notes that 86 million millennials will be in the workplace by 2020 — representing 40 percent of the total working population.

To not address the millennials’ employer predilections is to miss an opportunity to tap into a vast resource of potential talent. To that end, Daimler has always emphasized research in renewable resources and community involvement as well as a number of philanthropic endeavors. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it also appeals to the much-needed next generation who will fill the boots of the exiting boomers.

See also: 4 Steps to Integrate Risk Management  

Just because a company manufactures heavy-duty commercial vehicles doesn’t mean it can’t give back to the environment and the community at large. And, in the end, that will help make the world a better place.