It’s a tough time to be looking for talent in the insurance industry.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are roughly 693,000
insurance professionals who are 55 or older, a 74% increase in the age group
within the last 10 years. By next year, nearly one-fourth of all insurance
professionals will be within a decade of retirement.
With their departure comes the inevitable loss of skills and knowledge. In
fact, the aging workforce is an industry-agnostic problem that many companies
are facing as the Boomer generation looks toward retirement. Yet while many
companies are making it a primary goal to attract young talent, few recognize a
missing piece of the overall solution – keeping the aging workforce engaged and
It’s an oversight that could cost insurers and agencies plenty in terms of
training and lost opportunities. That doesn’t have to be. Many more workers
aged 55 and over are working successfully – and happily – beyond the
traditional retirement age.
The Boomer generation has plenty more to contribute. Yet conventional
employment may not fit with their changing lifestyles. While many older workers
could continue beyond retirement age, there are many reasons why they don’t –
family obligations, better work-life balance, or the wish to slow down or lose
an undesirable commute.
Yet that doesn’t mean older workers want to stop working altogether. Many
need to supplement their income going into their retirement, or they simply
want to remain active and engaged in the industry, but not full time.
Embracing New Methods
These are all changes that companies can easily address by embracing a new
way of engaging the older workforce. Today’s companies can help older workers
remain actively engaged while ensuring that critical knowledge and skills
remain within the company. One way to do so is to consider adopting remote
business methods that address the needs of the aging workforce. The benefits to
both worker and company are multiple.
Quality of Life
Retiring and retired professionals may be looking to relocate, be closer to
family, find more work-life balance, or re-engage their skills in a less
stressful, more hands-on role. A more portable career could address those
needs. Benefit to company: reduced office overhead, reduced onsite
risks, retention (or acquisition) of veteran talent.
Many retiring professionals want or need additional income during
retirement, yet often don’t require the same salary levels. Earning
supplemental income can help them delay drawing on retirement benefits or help
them care for aging parents or a family member. Benefit to company:
expert-level skills at a significantly reduced wage.
A Home-based Career
Losing the commute or feeling more in control of one’s work-life balance is
a common goal for many retiring workers, yet few companies offer step-down or
half-time remote working options. A home-based worker can actively contribute
while finding time to enjoy a more balanced lifestyle. Benefit to company:
An unlimited talent pool that doesn’t rely on physical location.
A New Career Focus
Many retiring workers we see are looking to transition their skills from one
focus area to another. A claims adjuster may want to work in loss control, or a
marketing professional may want to transition into a sales assistant role. By
downsizing the career within the industry, professionals can continue to play
an important role while experiencing a new area of concentration. Benefit
to company: specialized talent that can augment and share knowledge with the
The Desire to Contribute
So many retirement-age professionals simply want to continue contributing to
the industry. They want the challenge that the work gives them, and they want
to feel that sense of accomplishment without the need to be physically located
in the office. Benefit to company: motivated workers who have made an
active, conscious decision to seek opportunity and engagement within the
The Remote Solution
As the industry faces an impending brain drain and exodus of expert talent,
companies should be considering alternatives beyond simply hiring young
professionals to fill the vacancies. Adopting a remote solution to help the
retirement-age workforce step down into a more support-oriented role, companies
can keep top talent contributing as the younger workforce learns the ropes. The
retiring talent that has helped grow the industry isn’t ready to walk away.
Smart companies recognize that and will work to keep that knowledge from
walking out the door.
Sharon Emek, Ph.D., CIC, is founder and CEO of Work At Home Vintage Experts
(WAHVE). WAHVE is
an innovative contract talent platform that specializes in matching retiring,
experienced and knowledgeable professionals with a company’s talent
requirements. WAHVE bridges the gap between an employer’s staffing needs and
seasoned retiring professionals extending their career working from home. Our
screening and placement process provide a complete and effective solution to
talent qualifying, hiring, and HR administration.