There was a time when the choice of a career in insurance was most often considered only by people who were already retired, by employees looking for a casual job, by housewives wishing to raise their husband’s earnings or by new graduates waiting for job offers. Back then, when given the choice between being a full-time employee or being an insurance agent, most young people would choose the former.
But in recent years, we have seen a steady increase in the number of young people joining the insurance industry. All of the insurance leaders we interviewed in our weekly podcast shared that over 50% of their team is now Gen Y and Z. While that’s consistent with the data, showing that 60% of the workforce- current workforce in the country belonged to these two generations, it should be noted that many young people are now choosing the insurance profession as a career option rather than other employment opportunities. Personally, I know a number of them who left their full-time jobs to become financial advisers. They were in the insurance business not because they had no other options, but because they saw the beauty of the profession and chose it.
One can then ask the question: “Why are more young people joining the career of insurance? To answer this question, we need to look at what young people want and value in a job and what does an insurance career offer that matches that?
They value autonomy and flexibility. — Work is not everything for these generations. They value work-life balance. They need flexibility and freedom to do all the different activities and bustles they find themselves in. They are restless and cannot be confined in one “space” for long. A career in insurance gives them autonomy and flexibility, as they can mostly work their own hours, set their own schedule, and do things at their own pace. A young stock market adviser that I know spends only six hours a day on his insurance activities and devotes the rest of his day to his other missions. While another achieves their annual goal in 10 months and spends the remaining two months traveling. Difficult thing to do when you are an employee.
They are purpose driven. — These generations prefer to be in a place that gives meaning to what they do. They want to be part of something that will make a difference and change the world around them while allowing them to get paid for what they are good at. A career in insurance allows them to contribute and participate in the noble mission of helping every Filipino have a financially secure and protected future. They appreciate that what they are doing is helping their fellow Filipinos achieve financial independence. As one millennial advisor put it, “For every Filipino I can insure, I know I’m protecting a family from a potential financial crisis and helping to uplift the Philippines as a nation. One Filipino at a time.
They want money, recognition and experience. — Generations Y and Z are goal-oriented and high achievers. They want to make their first million before they even turn 25 (or even younger). They want to afford a quality living environment and acquire beautiful and pretty things. They want to show off and flex their accomplishments and recognitions as they happen. They want to grasp and experience what life has to offer now, as expressed in their term YOLO (you only live once). Insurance advisors who do well in their jobs know it all – unlimited earnings, rewards and recognition, travel, meals and accommodations, and more. One Gen Z advisor I spoke to suggested that his first commission was equal to six months of his salary at his previous job. And that the farthest he had been was Cebu for company-sponsored training, but as a financial advisor he was able to travel to three international destinations in one year. But he is happiest because he is able to provide a better lifestyle for his family. He can now send his child to a better school and take his family for a great vacation.
They prefer a digital workplace. — As both generations are digital natives, they thrive more in a digital environment. There is greater acceptance by younger groups of remote work and the ability to work virtually anywhere. The pandemic has accelerated the migration of all insurance companies to the digital platform, where all business transactions – from sales to service – can now be carried out virtually. While it has caused some discomfort to some members of other generations, this development has attracted young people to the profession. As one executive recounted, “During the pandemic, I was able to recruit more Gen Y and Z because they like the fact that they can now sell anywhere using their digital gadgets. They can meet and virtually closing a customer while on vacation in Boracay. Their productivity has also improved during the pandemic, as digital selling has allowed them to see more customers in less time.”
They seek fulfillment and empowerment. — These younger generations are constantly looking for career development and self-improvement. They look for opportunities to learn and become more involved. Appointing them team leaders or project managers is something they like to do. The career in insurance provides them with ongoing training and development to hone their knowledge and skills both as personal producers and as leaders. It provides career growth opportunities where these young groups can lead their own teams and take on greater responsibilities. A newly promoted Gen Z leader admits he didn’t expect to lead his own team at 23. “But with clear parameters and sufficient training and support, I was empowered to continue my career,” he said.
They want to be young entrepreneurs. — Unlike older generations, Generations Y and Z want to start and have their own business at a young age. Being a business owner kind of gives them autonomy and control over things. However, most still cannot afford it. They don’t have the resources to start a business. Being in the insurance business kind of feels like owning their own business. As one millennial MDRT shared, “It’s like having a franchise where I acquired the systems and processes, products, people, benefits and training of the life insurance business. I represent. The best part of it, I didn’t have to pay a franchise fee. I only paid for my exams and license fees. And that’s it… I have to be a partner commercial of a multinational insurance company.
The future of the insurance industry is in the hands of younger generations. They are the ones who will shape and influence how and where the industry moves forward. It is heartening to know that many of them are now entering the insurance career with great determination, enthusiasm and pride. And that the industry, in turn, provides them with the platform to succeed and make a difference. Indeed, a perfect match!