Reading this post made me think about the challenges many organizations face in building up the steady supply of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills they will need for a technology-powered future. Our colleagues across the UK and European insurance industry are keenly aware of the importance of creating an ample base of STEM skills for the coming years.
As our industry becomes more digital, the makeup of the traditional workforce will shift and insurers’ demand for STEM-related skills will grow. Yet many girls and young women still shy away from STEM, perceiving it to be a male-dominated field. The workforce in disciplines such as data science and information technology continues to have men as the vast majority, and insurers will find themselves competing for these scarce skills.
Reading the Huffington Post article and mulling over these thoughts coincided with my visiting schools with my daughter, who will soon be going to secondary school. We are spoilt for choice when it comes to good schools in southwest London. I was delighted that my daughter’s first choice was not based on her friends’ influence or its proximity to home.
Instead, she chose it because it is a good school for science, in which she is deeply interested. Her criterion for choosing science is not very scientific at all. “Science is much more fun,” she said to my pleasant surprise. Then, it dawned on me.
Companies, particularly insurers, must help seed the idea that “science is fun” among girls from an early age. It is up to the industry to start to change perceptions among younger girls. There is an opportunity for insurers to shape the talent supply chain at grassroots by sowing the right seeds and then reaping benefits in the longer term.
There are many powerful tools we can use, One way to make science more fun is by using game-based learning – the University of Hull, for example, is using the PC game, MineCraft, to make exploring molecular structures engaging for young scientists. That’s similar to how Angry Birds Space helped kids to better understand gravitational force.
Insurers may have missed the boat for millennials, but for Generation Z and beyond they still have time to grab the opportunity by the scruff of its neck.
Recommended reading:The Insurance Workforce of the Future: Why Will So Many Insurers Fail to Achieve their Digital Potential?