By 2025, millennials (born between 1981 and 1996) will make up more than 40% of the workforce, and Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2010) will account for 27%.
The next generation of leaders looks different and values different things than previous generations.
Both millennials and Gen Zers want to work for organizations with strong values and purpose. According to a study by Zety, 95% of Gen Z job seekers said it’s important for their work to have meaning. 71% said they would take a pay cut to do meaningful work. When job hunting, more than 60% look for a company whose values match their own and has a purpose that goes beyond just making a profit.
Younger generations also want their workplaces to care for their wellbeing, provide competitive pay and benefits, offer flexibility and present career development opportunities.
Younger millennials and Gen Z especially look for companies that support diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. Gen Z is the most diverse generation in history, and they expect the companies they work for to reflect that diversity. A survey by Monster found that 83% of Gen Z candidates said a company’s commitment to DEI is important when choosing a job.
What Gen Z job seekers want in a workplace
How agencies can attract and develop the next generation
Independent insurance agencies have a lot to offer to attract millennial and Gen Z candidates. When we asked agents what makes their agency a great place to work, the top answers were:
- Opportunities to help people
- Good workplace culture/team
- Career growth
- Continuing education
Growth-focused agencies were more likely to emphasize career growth, flexible work locations, mentorship opportunities and their diverse, inclusive environment.
Insurance careers can offer the meaning, career growth and caring culture that younger generations seek. When advertising job openings, agencies would do well to highlight these aspects of the job.
When it comes to development opportunities, Zety found that Gen Z employees prefer one-on-one mentorship or online classes over traditional classroom training. 71% wanted the ability to work with coaches and mentors and 62% wanted access to online courses, while just 31% wanted formal in-class training.
This suggests that agencies should invest in mentorship programs and one-on-one coaching opportunities to help empower the next generation of leaders.
If insurance agencies can harness that entrepreneurial spirit and show the paths for career growth, hiring and investing in millennials and Gen Z could be a win-win for agency perpetuation. A study by Nielsen found that 54% of Gen Z say they want to own their own company. And a recent Agent for the Future report on the state of women in agencies found that more than half of women younger than 50 who worked in frontline staff roles were interested in becoming a partner in their agency.
You almost have to market your business as much for a new hire as you do for a new sale.
You’ve got to talk about the culture of your business. You’ve got to talk about how much people enjoy working for you. Because it’s not just a paycheck anymore.
The remote work disconnect
As a result of the pandemic, flexibility and work-life balance have become important factors for recruitment and retention.
Bloomberg found that nearly half of millennials and Gen Z workers would consider quitting if their employers weren’t flexible about remote work. And a study from Zety found that flexible working practices were one of the top factors that attracted people to a new job.
However, our study found that many agencies are still hesitant to offer remote work options. More than half of agencies plan to have employees work full-time in the office in 2022. 30% of agencies had a plan for hybrid work (with an average of two remote days a week), and just 14% planned to be fully remote.
Many agency leaders cite workplace culture and collaboration as reasons to get everyone back in the office, but many workers want to stay partially remote, with most saying their work-life balance and personal happiness are better at home. Of agency staff who did work remotely at least one day a week, 67% said their work-life balance was better, 61% said their personal happiness was better, and 55% said they were more productive.
Frontline staff were more likely than agency principals to say things were better at home or the same as when they are in the office, but a significant percentage of principals agreed.