A majority of insurance companies plan to hire additional employees in 2018, even as the industry’s unemployment rate hovers at a record low and the labor market remains extremely competitive, according to a new study from The Jacobson Group and Aon’s Ward Group.
About 63 percent of companies said they will be increasing their staff during the next year, the study found. Companies said that new technology, claims and underwriting staff were high on their list of hiring priorities. The trend comes as the insurance industry unemployment rate hovers at 1.7 percent, according to government statistics cited by the study, much lower than the national average of 3.9 percent.
Also, just 5 percent of companies said they expect to reduce staffing over the next year—a five-point drop from in 2017.
Jacobson co-CEO Gregory Jacobson said that growth and low unemployment are among factors making the labor market extremely tight.
“Expected increases in business volume and expansion into new markets are driving continued hiring,” Jacobson said in prepared remarks. “The organizational growth, coupled with a shallow talent pool and virtually nonexistent industry unemployment, results in an increasingly competitive labor market.”
The study found that companies are filling the gaps by using more temporary staff, with 13 percent saying they were increasing the practice, up from 12 percent last year.
Here are some additional findings from the insurance labor market study:
- 79 percent of medium-sized companies are adding new staff over the next year, 20 and 24 points higher, respectively, than small and large companies.
- 72 percent of personal lines carriers plan to boost staffing, and 66 percent of commercial lines carriers will do the same.
- 82 percent of companies said they expect to grow revenue over the next year, three points higher than in January.
- 93 percent of medium-sized companies are optimistic about growing revenue versus 80 percent for small companies and 76 percent for large companies.
- For companies reducing staffing, 11 percent said that automation is driving reduced headcount plans. About 9 percent said reorganization would lead to job cuts.
- Executive, technology and actuarial positions are the hardest for companies to fill.
- Carriers are still struggling to find employees because of an aging workforce, mid- and executive-level talent gaps, and an unemployment rate below 2 percent.
The findings are based on a market survey conducted earlier in the 2018 third quarter, drawing revenue and hiring projections from all insurance industry sectors.