Insights

Latest Insurance Talent Perspectives

What Makes a Great Leader Today?

While many of the foundational characteristics that comprise a great leader have remained constant throughout the years, a new perspective and approach is required for effective leadership amid today’s shifting work environments, employee expectations and business pressures.

View our latest white paper for the 10 qualities that differentiate today’s top leaders.

Q1 2024 Insurance Labor Market Study Results

The Jacobson Group and Aon plc conduct a Semi-Annual Insurance Labor Market Study to examine industry hiring and revenue trends and projections. The findings of our Q1 2024 iteration reflect a stable – yet cautiously optimistic – industry.

Download the results to explore 2024’s staffing forecasts and hiring plans for the insurance industry.

Combatting the Finance and Accounting Talent Shortage

Faced with a shallowing pool of emerging talent and a workforce nearing retirement, finding qualified accounting and finance professionals has been an intensifying challenge for the industry. A comprehensive multi-prong approach is necessary to cultivate a workforce that can meet evolving demands and ensure operational continuity.

Read our blog post for insights on staying ahead of the growing finance and accounting talent crisis.

Explore Our Full Thought Leadership Library

  • Reset

July 2024: Labor Market PULSE

Unemployment for insurance carriers and related activities continues to trend downward, while the overall U.S. unemployment rate rises. In June, the U.S. unemployment rate hit a two-and-a-half year high of 4.1%, while the insurance industry experienced its lowest unemployment rate this year at just 1.4%. Insurance employment is also on the rise, with the industry adding nearly 24,000 jobs since the start of the year. In our Q1 2024 Insurance Labor Market Study, 52% of carriers shared they expected to add staff this year. What will the next 12 months bring? Share your organization’s plans in our Q3 2024 survey, which is open through July 28, and gain complimentary access to the results. We invite carriers across all verticals to participate: https://jcbsn.gr/2024q3-laborstudy. AT-A-GLANCE NUMBERS Unemployment for the insurance carriers and related activities sector decreased to 1.4% in June. The insurance carriers and related activities sector gained 8,600 jobs in June. At more than 3 million jobs, industry employment increased by approximately 46,800 jobs compared to June 2023. The U.S. unemployment rate slightly increased to 4.1% in June and the overall economy added 206,000 jobs. INDUSTRY HIGHLIGHTS On a year-to-year basis, May* insurance industry employment saw job increases in reinsurance (up 2.9%), agents/brokers (up 2.4%), life/health (up 1.1%), TPAs (up 0.6%), and property and casualty (up 0.4%).  Meanwhile, jobs decreased in title (down 3.8%) and claims (down 1.2%). On a year-to-year basis, May* saw weekly wage increases across all areas: agents/brokers (up 11.9%), title (up 11.2%), TPAs (up 7.7%), reinsurance (up 7.6%), life/health (up 3.6%), claims (up 2.3%), and property and casualty (up 1.4%). BLS Reported Adjustments: Adjusted employment numbers for May show the industry saw an increase of 4,600 jobs, compared to the previously reported increase of 4,800 jobs. The BLS continues to revise numbers to be most accurate, which may contribute to inconsistencies, depending on when reports were pulled. *The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report and reports on wages and employment for the industry category are only available for two months prior. The source for the data represented in PULSE is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Insurance data is derived from the insurance carriers and related activities sector.

Navigating Job Interviews: 7 Questions to Assess Fit and Stand Out

Navigating a job interview goes beyond showcasing your qualifications to the employer—it’s a pivotal opportunity to evaluate if the role and organization are the right fit for you.  Thoughtful questions can deepen your understanding of the job and company culture, while helping you stand out as a well-prepared and engaged candidate. While you likely have your own set of specific questions in mind, I’ve compiled a list of universally valuable questions to ask during your next interview. These will help garner the insights you need for an informed decision and leave a lasting impression: Can you walk me through a day in the life in this role? The job interview is your opportunity to gather insights beyond the static job description. The answer to this question will provide a practical sense of what the job will actually entail, helping you visualize the daily tasks and challenges. You’ll gain insights into the team dynamics, the tools you'll be using and the pace of work. Understanding the daily routine will help you assess if the job aligns with your work style and career goals to ensure you’ll find satisfaction in the day-to-day responsibilities and long-term career development. Ask more specific follow-up questions, if necessary, to deepen your understanding of the role and its fit for you. How do you measure success in this role? Success in the workplace is more than just completing tasks; it's about meeting and exceeding expectations. This question reveals the employer’s valued performance metrics and how progress will be tracked, helping you understand what will be expected of you. By asking about the specific key performance indicators your manager will use, you can gauge if the desired objectives are clear, realistic and achievable and if they will provide the right amount of challenge to foster growth and development in your career.   Can you describe the typical career path for someone in this role? To evaluate whether the company is a fit for your desired career trajectory, ask the interviewer to help you envision your long-term future at the company. Their response can reveal whether opportunities for training, mentorship and progression into more senior roles exist. This question also signals to the employer that you're motivated and ambitious, qualities that are highly valued in any employee. Understanding the potential for growth allows you to assess if the company is a good fit for your career aspirations and professional development goals. What is the biggest hurdle I might encounter in this role? Every job comes with its own set of challenges, and being aware of these from the onset can help you prepare effectively. Whether it's industry-specific knowledge, system complexities or managing high-stress situations, knowing the obstacles you might face allows you to evaluate if you are equipped to handle them and if you want to! Asking follow-up questions to understand the company's support system for overcoming these challenges—such as training programs or team guidance—can give you confidence in your ability to succeed. If this team had a mascot to represent it, who would it be and why? Depending on the level of the role and the tone of the interview, consider asking an out-of-the-box question to help reveal the team’s culture and dynamics. Asking the hiring manager to identify a celebrity, fictional character or well-known figure that accurately represents the department can provide unique insights. The mascot and, more importantly, the rationale behind it, will offer a glimpse into the team’s spirit, values and how they view themselves. It’s a lighthearted, yet insightful, way to understand the team’s personality and work environment, helping you assess if their culture aligns with your preferences, work style and values. Alternatively, you could ask “how would you describe the team dynamics?” or “how does the team collaborate together?” In what ways do you see yourself contributing to the company's mission or vision on a daily basis? Seek insights into the interviewer’s experience at the organization to understand their candid perspectives. Asking about their personal alignment with the company’s mission, vision or values provides valuable insights into the company's culture and dynamics. It also demonstrates your interest in understanding how your potential role aligns with their strategic objectives. Is there anything on my resume I can explain further? Offering to clarify any points on your resume demonstrates your openness and willingness to discuss your qualifications in detail. This question gives the interviewer the chance to address any uncertainties they might have and provides you with an opportunity to elaborate on your experience. It's an impressive way to ensure the interviewer gains a complete understanding of your background and how it aligns with the role. Interview Reminders In any interview, the goal is to walk away with a clear understanding of whether the role and organization is a fit for you. To achieve this, it is key to stay engaged throughout the interview and keep your questions clear and relevant. Here are some additional tips to help maximize your interview experience: Approach the interview with a clear understanding of the information you need to make an educated decision about the role’s suitability for you. Inquire about the length and robustness of their training process, typical work hours, overtime expectations, peak periods, and any additional information you need to assess fit with your capabilities, preferences and lifestyle. Preparation is key. Research the company and the interviewer. Preparing five to six questions for the interviewer will ensure you can respond to their prompt for questions, even if some are covered during the interview. This will also help you ask insightful follow-up questions. Make the interview conversational and don’t hesitate to ask questions naturally as they arise or during conversation pauses. Ask follow-up questions if you need the interviewer to be more specific or if you were looking for a different response. Fostering a genuine exchange of thoughts demonstrates your genuine interest in the role. Print a copy of the job description and bring it to the interview. Use it to reference key points, ask informed questions and take notes. Write down any additional insights or key details to help you craft a thoughtful post-interview thank-you message that reflects your engagement. If you plan to inquire about compensation, demonstrate your interest in the role and company first. Then, when the time is right, ask about compensation while showing that you have done your research on local market rates and your own worth. This approach allows for a more informed discussion about benefits and growth opportunities. Being prepared with knowledge of compensation in your area will help you navigate this conversation effectively without giving the impression that compensation is your sole focus. As the interview concludes, express enthusiasm for the opportunity and inquire about the next steps in the process. Frame your inquiry around your positive impression of the discussion so far, saying something like, "Everything I've heard today sounds great. Could you please share with me the next steps?" Follow up by asking about the number of interviews expected and who you will be meeting with in those stages. This demonstrates your genuine interest and readiness to move forward in the process. By asking thoughtful, purpose-driven questions, you can gain a comprehensive understanding of both the role and organization, while also showcasing your preparedness and engagement. Remember, an interview is a mutual exploration; it’s just as much about you determining if the role is the right fit for you as it is about the employer evaluating if you are the right fit for them. Your goal is to leave with a clear picture of whether the role aligns with your professional goals and values, empowering you to make an informed career decision.

Recruiter Report: Competing for Top Talent in Today’s Environment

While the hiring landscape may be less active than it was a few years ago, we’re still in the midst of a competitive labor market. However, in our conversations with hiring managers, we’re noticing there’s a frequent misconception about the availability of talent, leading to a lack of urgency throughout the employment process. This can result in insurers losing out on top candidates at the point of an offer – if not before. As the market continues to evolve, standing out against the competition should remain a priority. In this edition of Recruiter Report, we’re exploring the question, "How can insurers secure top talent in the current climate?" Recognize the job market is tighter than some may think. The finance and insurance sector is experiencing its lowest rate of voluntary quits since 2020 (coined “the Big Stay” across the broader economy). There are a limited number of candidates on the market; and those who are open to making a move are often speaking with several different companies at once. Organizations that require hybrid or in-person work face additional challenges, as many professionals are unwilling to consider in-office positions or relocation. At the same time, fully remote companies across the country are competing for candidates within your local market. Make every interaction count. The recruiting process starts with a professional’s first contact with your organization. Consider how your culture, people and values are outwardly reflected on your website and social media profiles. Keep your recruiting and hiring process minimal yet impactful, with the goal of extending an offer in under two weeks. Remember, candidates are likely taking time off and rearranging their schedules to meet with you. Respect their time by knowing what you want to achieve in each interview and ensuring the right individuals are in the room, enabling you to move forward quickly. Be proactive and efficient with scheduling. Especially in the summer, scheduling conflicts on both sides can further complicate timelines. Stay mindful of decision makers' PTO schedules and have backup plans ready to prevent unnecessary delays. This could mean prepping additional recruiters to screen for a role or asking another team member to step in to interview and influence the hiring decision. It’s likely candidates also have their own vacations planned; be flexible and creative with scheduling to ensure you don’t lose momentum. Know what makes a compelling offer. Throughout the interview process, ask the candidate about what they personally value in a role, as well as what would incentivize them to make a move. Your initial offer should be your strongest and take this information into account. In today’s market, strictly lateral offers are not likely to be accepted. Match a candidate’s desired compensation when possible and ensure your benefits are competitive. Highlight any additional areas that are important to them as well, be it growth opportunities, remote work, flexible schedules or other perks. Have reasonable expectations. Holding out for the “perfect” candidate can lead to a perpetually open role. Be open to professionals who may not meet all your criteria. No matter the position, finding a candidate who ticks every box is rare, making it essential to identify and prioritize your non-negotiables. Stay flexible in areas where compromises can be made and skills can be taught. To secure the best talent in today’s environment, insurers must maintain momentum throughout the hiring process, while being intentional and strategic with their offers. For more recruiting best practices, view our past editions of Recruiter Report. As a hiring manager, what offerings have been effective in securing candidates recently? View our LinkedIn poll to share your thoughts.

10 Ways To Be a Great Leader in Today’s Environment

Along with achieving business and monetary goals, today’s most successful leaders must also be able to ensure a positive employee experience, effectively lead through change, monitor and alleviate employee burnout, and much more. In our recent issue of Compass, Mike Abate, managing director, offers insights into leading in a way that inspires productivity and cultivates an environment of trust and influence. Below are 10 key behaviors that set the best leaders apart, from his feature article, "What Makes a Great Leader Today?" Establish a clear and consistent vision that can rally a group toward achieving even the most ambitious of goals. Embrace a strong set of values, acting with integrity to build trust and inspire confidence among employees, colleagues and clients. Adopt a strategic approach that considers the bigger picture, including potential opportunities, challenges and risks. Become comfortable relying on others to provide information and insight, evaluating what you know and recognizing when you’re able to make an informed decision and move forward. Demonstrate empathy and authenticity to foster connections and rapport with employees, clients and peers. Accurately identify strengths and weaknesses (including your own) to best leverage everyone’s capabilities. Cultivate active listening skills and remain open to ideas, opinions and feedback from all levels of the organization. Encourage innovation by providing the space and support for individuals to take calculated risks and think creatively, cultivating an environment in which new ideas are valued and heard. Support and advocate for team members’ growth through mentorships, training and education, cross-departmental shadowing, and more. Lead with a growth mindset that embraces failure and opportunities to learn. By focusing on areas such as relationship-building, development and mutual trust, current and future leaders will be best equipped to successfully meet the demands of an evolving workplace. View the full article for more on being an effective, people-focused leader in the context of today’s environment. For more talent insights, delivered to your inbox each quarter, subscribe to our Compass newsletter.

Jacobson Employee Spotlight – Q2 2024

At The Jacobson Group, we take pride in the remarkable contributions of our team members. Each month, we highlight a few of our corporate employees from across the company as they share a bit about themselves and their roles.  Janet Foor Assistant Vice President and Client Relationship Manager, 25 years at Jacobson Hometown: Originally from Philadelphia, Chicago is home now Alma Mater: Penn State Describe Your Role: I serve as a client relationship manager within our professional recruiting practice, overseeing all facets of searches, including client development, candidate recruitment and the complete facilitation of the process. Last Book You Read: I just reread "To Kill a Mockingbird." Jacobson in Three Words: Collaborative, Inclusive, Professional Something You Recently Learned: Not to sweat the small stuff You Are Happiest When You Are: Spending time with family and friends Advice For Newcomers to the Industry: Patience, persistence and a good sense of humor will do you well. If You Won the Lottery, What is The First Thing You Would Do: Report for work the next morning What Inspires You to Excel in Your Role? Since I work a full recruiting desk, I get to experience a happy client and a happy candidate. It's a win/win situation. Jennifer Rigsby Operations Researcher, 3 years at Jacobson Hometown: St. Louis. One side of my family has lived in the Midwest since the 1600s. Alma Mater: Washington University in St. Louis. I studied history and anthropology. Describe Your Role: As an operations researcher, I have a dual role that combines candidate sourcing with some administrative work, such as editing and formatting documents we send to clients. Jacobson actually created this role for me based on my skills and interests, and both parts of my job have proven to complement each other well. Random Fact: I come from a history and genealogy background. When deciding whether to buy my house, I couldn't evaluate it structurally, so I researched its history instead. I found 1940s-photographs in local St. Louis newspapers showing Mayor Fiorello La Guardia of New York inside my house, visiting a woman who once lived there. They both came from military families and had been neighbors at two different points. I signed the papers immediately. One Professional Skill You Are Actively Learning: Recently, I've been helping compile research to support business development, exploring different resources and ways to apply information. Getting to know the depths of the insurance industry and all the functions required to run a company is a constant learning experience. I plan to start the second course of the AINS (Associate in Insurance) designation soon. Favorite Food: I started learning to cook a few years ago with meal kits. Since then, I've found it more satisfying to make my own meals versus going to restaurants. It's like a (strangely laborious and time-consuming) form of magic to transform raw ingredients into something impressive. My favorite meals are those that allow me to quickly reheat a fancy-looking lunch the next day or two; I make a lot of quiche. Last Book You Read: I read a lot, so I'll say that my favorite book of all time is "The Count of Monte Cristo," and my favorite read this year was "Night Film" by Marisha Pessl. The last book I finished was "I Have Some Questions for You" by Rebecca Makkai, which was recommended by someone at Jacobson. I recommend it in turn. My favorite Jacobson activity is our quarterly book club, as talking about books is a fun way to connect with other Jacobson employees. I really love that we have that. In Your Time at Jacobson, What Has Been Your Favorite Project? I love working on something new or complicated. It can sometimes be a steep learning curve at the beginning, but ultimately, I know that's when the most improvement in my overall work happens. Agnes Capron Contracts and Compliance Manager, 2 years at Jacobson Hometown: Jersey City, New Jersey Alma Mater: The University of Massachusetts Amherst Describe Your Role: As a contracts and compliance manager, I oversee the daily operations of our legal department. My responsibilities include reviewing and facilitating the negotiation of contracts with clients, as well as managing contracts with vendors. Last Show You Binge-Watched: "3 Body Problem" on Netflix Jacobson in Three Words: Home, Team, Collaborative What Inspires You to Excel in Your Role? My desire to always be and do better Favorite Restaurant: I love Cuban and Filipino food. One Professional Skill You Are Actively Developing: I am currently enrolled at Villanova University, taking a class on government contract management. Advice For Newcomers to the Industry: Always be curious. Wanting to know the "why" keeps me constantly learning, improving my skills, and obtaining new ones. The industry is constantly shifting, and you have to stay current to add value wherever you go. My innate curiosity has served me well throughout my career. Random Fact: I am obsessed with true crime and legal shows. Don’t be surprised if I’m watching a police interrogation of a suspect on YouTube at this very moment. You Are Happiest When You Are: Swimming at the beach Something You Recently Learned: It's never too late to learn something new. View previous editions of our Employee Spotlight. For monthly Employee Spotlights, follow our Facebook page. 

June 2024: Labor Market PULSE

In May, the overall U.S. economy hit its highest unemployment rate since January 2022. Conversely, unemployment for the insurance carriers and related activities sector dropped 0.6 percentage points, to 1.8%. U.S. job openings hit a three-year low in April*, while job openings within finance and insurance slightly increased. The industry is also experiencing a voluntary quits rate of 0.9% - the lowest since April 2020, according to the BLS. In the past couple months, we’ve noted an increasing reluctance among professionals when it comes to changing roles. This makes it even more important to focus on engagement to avoid “quiet quitting” and maintain productivity. For more on avoiding burnout within your team, view our recent blog post. AT-A-GLANCE NUMBERS Unemployment for the insurance carriers and related activities sector decreased to 1.8% in May. The insurance carriers and related activities sector gained 4,800 jobs in May. At more than 3 million jobs, industry employment increased by approximately 37,800 jobs compared to May 2023. The U.S. unemployment rate slightly increased to 4% in May and the overall economy added 257,000 jobs. INDUSTRY HIGHLIGHTS On a year-to-year basis, April* insurance industry employment saw job increases in agents/brokers (up 2.5%), reinsurance (up 2.3%), TPAs (up 1.5%), life/health (up 1%), and property and casualty (up 0.6%).  Meanwhile, jobs decreased in title (down 3.2%) and claims (down 1.4%). On a year-to-year basis, April* saw weekly wage increases across all areas: title (up 13.3%), agents/brokers (up 10.8%), TPAs (up 9.8%), reinsurance (up 9.8%), life/health (up 4.6%), claims (up 3.7%), and property and casualty (up 2.8%). BLS Reported Adjustments: Adjusted employment numbers for April show the industry saw an increase of 6,200 jobs, compared to the previously reported increase of 8,100 jobs. The BLS continues to revise numbers to be most accurate, which may contribute to inconsistencies, depending on when reports were pulled. *The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report and reports on wages and employment for the industry category are only available for two months prior. The source for the data represented in PULSE is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Insurance data is derived from the insurance carriers and related activities sector.

Managing Employee Burnout: Tips for Summer and Beyond

As managers, acknowledging the need for a healthy work-life balance is essential – especially as we enter the summer months. Many professionals are balancing vacations, family events, kids at home, and much more along with their standard work responsibilities. While it’s essential to be sensitive to potential employee burnout year-round, the summer tends to create an environment where PTO is more common, workweeks may be shorter, and priorities compete – often causing more stress than relaxation. More than half of professionals are experiencing at least moderate levels of burnout, according to a recent Aflac study. Unmanageable workloads, unclear communication, lack of support and unrealistic expectations are just a few factors that can lead to feelings of burnout. This can have significant consequences on your team’s productivity and ability to meet your business goals. Employees who are burned out are 63% more likely to take sick time and 2.6 times more likely to actively explore other employment opportunities. Approaching employees’ work-life balance through a human lens can help provide the space for employees to recharge, while increasing productivity and overall job satisfaction.   Below are a few ways to reduce burnout among your team members not just in the summer, but all year long: Plan ahead. In insurance, there are known busy seasons – such as open enrollment or CAT season. Plan hiring accordingly so that when spikes come, you are prepared to manage the additional workload without overwhelming your employees. Often, full-time individuals already have a full plate, meaning when things get busy, the extra work just piles on top. By planning ahead, you can enlist the help of qualified interim staff to help ease an influx of work and enable your full-time employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Set reasonable expectations. Along with planning for anticipated spikes in workloads, be reasonable in how you handle the unexpected. If someone leaves the organization, how will you manage that gap? Too often, managers default to expecting the rest of the team to absorb the loss. Be strategic and intentional in thinking through what tasks can be postponed, what could be given to temporary employees, and what could be a development opportunity for another individual. If you do transition responsibilities, talk to your employees about how you can shift their existing workload to avoid overburdening them. Find opportunities to connect. Especially in remote environments, it can be difficult to build a sense of connection and camaraderie among team members. Those in individual contributor roles are also more prone to feeling isolated and disconnected, given their positions don’t regularly interact with others. Create an environment where communication and collaboration are the norm and provide the space to establish relationships that lead to healthy conversations around shared work experiences. This could mean scheduling informal breakout discussions to connect those who may not otherwise cross paths or hosting periodic in-office meetings. Provide flexibility. New terms are emerging in the corporate world such as “quiet vacationing,” where individuals don’t feel comfortable formally asking for time off – be it for vacations, appointments or family obligations. In fact, 40% of millennials share they’ve taken time off without notifying their manager, according to a recent Harris poll. Recognize that employees are people with personal responsibilities and lives outside of work. Be flexible when you can to help build trust and transparency, while reducing unnecessary stress. Encourage breaks. Even if your company has a generous PTO policy, your organizations’ culture and attitude toward breaks will influence whether employees are truly able to disconnect. Three out of four workers wish their workplace culture more strongly emphasized the value of breaks and time off. Create a culture where taking time off is encouraged and disconnecting while on PTO is the norm. Even if you as a manager are not actively taking time off, make sure your employees know you support these breaks and the opportunity for them to recharge. Respect communication boundaries. If you appear to be “always on” and are sending emails, texts or chat messages after hours, think about any unintentional pressures or consequences you may be putting on your team. Even if you’re not expecting an answer until the next day, you risk interrupting their evenings and causing them to shift their mindsets from home to work when a notification appears. As much as you can, postpone pressing send until working hours. Make one-on-ones about more than performance. Use your one-on-one time with employees to get to know them outside of projects and deadlines. Building personal connections can help increase engagement and also enable you to better recognize the warning signs of early burnout. Ask how they’re doing and feeling, and focus on building a relationship that is less transactional than solely reviewing project progress.   Have ongoing conversations around benefits. Many companies proudly tout their benefits and perks during the hiring and onboarding process, but then the conversation stops. Highlight your organization’s benefits more frequently and encourage individuals to take advantage of what your company offers. Additionally, ensure your HR team is taking a holistic view in understanding what is important to current employees and structuring benefit offerings accordingly. Employee burnout may be common, but in many cases it’s avoidable. Be genuine in connecting with your team members, provide them with flexibility, encourage time off, and set clear and realistic expectations around workloads. By supporting individuals to the best of your ability, you’ll be positioned to identify, navigate and ultimately mitigate employee burnout.

Remote, Hybrid or In-Person: What’s Best for Your Organization?

In today's world, there's no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to where and how work gets done. Remote and hybrid work continue to be prevalent within the industry, and some professionals haven’t stepped into their corporate office space in more than four years. Our Q1 2024 Insurance Labor Market Study found just 6% of insurers have implemented full-time in-person work for the majority of their staff; yet, an additional 76% are expecting most employees in the office at least once a week. Below we’ve outlined the benefits and challenges of each work setup, as a resource for your use as you make adjustments to best support your unique business goals.  Remote/Hybrid/In-Person: At-a-Glance Benefits and Challenges A More In-Depth Look While the above chart presents a high-level view of potential benefits and challenges, it’s important to focus on how they will impact your specific organization or team.  In-Person The traditional, in-person office environment has a number of benefits rooted in more personal relationships, connections and collaboration. As an employer, it’s easier to have daily visibility, understand work styles, and gain transparency into how and when work is being done. Being able to walk over to a colleague’s desk to ask a question or collaborate on a project can help enhance efficiency and facilitate real-time decision-making. There’s often more interaction across departments, as well as opportunities to have impromptu conversations and brainstorming sessions. Shadowing and feedback may happen more organically, as employees can learn from sitting in on conversations and meetings that may not otherwise be possible.  However, these in-office conversations and interruptions may decrease individuals’ daily productivity and output. Additionally, the majority of today’s workforce remains hesitant to take a fully in-person position and may leave their current roles if asked to come into the office even a few days a week. Local candidate pools continue to shrink as companies compete with remote organizations, and access to specialized skill sets is limited. Hybrid Hybrid work may seem like a happy medium between being fully in the office and fully remote; however, it’s important to think through how it will translate for your organization. Employees who are local may enjoy the opportunity to structure their work weeks in a way that promotes work-life balance, while also reaping the benefits of periodically going into an office. For instance, teams may work autonomously most of the week and schedule meetings and time for collaboration during one or two days in the office.  Yet, even in hybrid environments, there are challenges that need to be addressed. If some employees are working in the office and others are remote, it can be difficult to ensure equal opportunities and inclusivity. Time zones and work hours can also become misaligned, making it challenging to schedule meetings and regularly collaborate. Additionally, asking individuals to come into the office even once a week can limit candidate pools as severely as fully in-person work.  Remote We saw many companies pivot to fully remote work during the pandemic and several are still maintaining this environment. There’s no doubt this option removes geographic boundaries and provides organizations with access to talent across all locations and skill sets. Some companies have given up their physical office spaces completely, saving on rent and other overhead expenses. However, we’ve also seen employers struggle with innovation and collaboration in these environments. It’s essential to be intentional about culture and connecting individuals across locations. Work-life boundaries are also at risk of being blurred, leading to potential burnout, decreased productivity and lack of engagement. What’s right for you? As you determine what is best for your team and/or organization, asking the following questions can help ensure you’re set up for success, regardless of your chosen work environment.  Does your chosen work model align with your company's culture and values? Does a specific role need to be performed in the office every day to be effective?  Will certain environments negatively or positively impact employee morale and retention efforts?  Are you able to effectively establish and grow a sense of connection and belonging among employees? How will you foster effective communication, collaboration and innovation? In what ways will you ensure accountability and productivity? Do you have the tools and technology in place for seamless communication and collaboration? How will you support business goals while promoting work-life balance? Will there be limitations on your talent pool, and if so, how will you adapt? Each work model presents its own set of advantages and challenges. However, by taking a thoughtful and strategic approach, you’ll be best prepared to create a space where your teams feel valued and are able to collaborate, communicate and thrive.

May 2024: Labor Market Pulse

The unemployment rate for insurance carriers and related activities rose by .7 percentage points in April, yet hovers around 2%, consistent with the past several months. Industry employment also increased – adding more than 8,000 jobs after hitting the 3 million mark in March. The latest JOLTS report revised February job openings within the larger finance and insurance category, with new numbers showing 515,000 open jobs – a current record high. March* job openings also remained high, despite dropping to 365,000. We’re continuing to see an uptick in hybrid work situations, with companies asking employees to be in the office a few days a week. As insurers settle into these environments, having the right leaders in place is essential. View our recent Compass feature article on the characteristics and traits for today’s great leaders. AT-A-GLANCE NUMBERS INDUSTRY HIGHLIGHTS On a year-to-year basis, March* insurance industry employment saw job increases in claims (up 4.1%), reinsurance (up 3%), agents/brokers (up 2.9%), TPAs (up 1.6%), and life/health (up 1.1%).  Meanwhile, jobs decreased in title (down 3.2%) and property and casualty (down 0.1%). On a year-to-year basis, March* saw weekly wage increases across all areas: title (up 14.9%), agents/brokers (up 9.8%), TPAs (up 9.7%), reinsurance (up 8%), life/health (up 5.6%), property and casualty (up 2.4%), and claims (up 0.9%).           BLS Reported Adjustments: Adjusted employment numbers for March show the industry saw an increase of 1,800 jobs, compared to the previously reported decrease of 300 jobs. The BLS continues to revise numbers to be most accurate, which may contribute to inconsistencies, depending on when reports were pulled. *The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey report and reports on wages and employment for the industry category are only available for two months prior. The source for the data represented in PULSE is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Insurance data is derived from the insurance carriers and related activities sector.