Today we’ll tackle perhaps the most pivotal change in the insurance workforce: the growing role of big data in everyday business functions, and the need to hire qualified workers to meet this demand.
Advanced analytics can provide novel solutions to the challenges of increased competition and customer demand. The problem comes in finding and hiring qualified candidates who can use statistics, quantitative analysis and information-modeling techniques to make business decisions.
The Accenture Institute for High Performance conducted a year-long study of insurance industry job creation and skills availability for analytics talent (“The looming global analytics talent mismatch in insurance”). The study found that 60 percent of the 87,700 insurance industry analytics jobs across seven countries (the U.S., Singapore, Japan, Brazil, India, the UK and China) are in the U.S. These insurers will add 23,700 new analytics jobs between 2010 and 2015, reflecting an annual job growth rate of 4.9 percent.
The report categorizes analytics talent into three job descriptions: analytics scientists (such as senior web analytics modelers), analytics experts (senior actuaries), and analytics specialists (product analysts).
The problem for insurance is that almost every other industry, from information technology to pharmaceuticals, also wants to hire from a limited pool of qualified people. This results in a critical mismatch between supply and demand, just when insurers need to ramp up their analytics capabilities.
And the problem isn’t just restricted to analytics hires. By some estimates, 50 percent of today’s agents and brokers will retire in the next 10 years. Also in short supply are junior- to mid-level managers with knowledge of insurance functions. This means the industry faces a double blow: they must add new analytics workers while simultaneously filling the talent gap left by retiring baby boomers.
Unfortunately, in today’s hypercompetitive hiring market, insurance still struggles with a poor image. The UK Chartered Insurance Institute’s survey of university students found that only 1 percent were interested in working in insurance after graduation, compared with 15 percent who were headed to finance and banking, and 22 percent who were bound for professional services.
Next week we will take a look at how advanced technology and big data are enabling more effective workforce planning.
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