CII communications director David Ross on why the insurance industry needs to hire more young people

The quality of the individuals at the finale of the Apprenticeships LIVE event stands testimony to how the profession can benefit immeasurably from the talent and enthusiasm of apprentices. Each of them was a credit to themselves and their firms, and I have no doubt that they will all go on to make an impact.

It’s refreshing to spend time with individuals whose appetite and energy for doing the right thing has not yet been dulled by corporate cynicism. My worry is that, based on our previous record, once we have these shining stars we aren’t awfully good at looking after them, or listening to them. But these young people have lots to teach us, particularly about how we treat and engage with customers, and if you’ve been following the news you’ll know that trust and insurance are not the best of friends. But before we get to that problem, we have another …

For all the protests by the great and the good about how we need to do more to attract talent, there is still a sense that talk is cheap when it comes to encouraging the brightest and the best to join the insurance profession.

Most young people’s view of insurance is heavily influenced by mainstream media, such as television, YouTube, social media platforms and newspapers, and by family and friends. Advertisements focusing on price tend to resonate more than any positive stories around the social value of insurance. And there is also the age-old problem of insurance being a grudge purchase, with the only interaction coming when a claim needs to be made.

This goes some way to explaining why most young people continue to disregard working in insurance. It also shows the importance of making sure that the public know what our profession has to offer.

The chancellor’s Autumn Statement gave more detail around the new apprenticeships levy and consequently there has never been a better time to take on apprentices.

The CII has always been at the forefront of developing and supporting apprenticeships and, although we can take no credit for the new levy, we remain ideally placed to help employers understand how to make it work for them.

Indeed, we are committed to supporting the insurance sector to promote itself as a dynamic, rewarding career that offers diverse opportunities. We’ve recently launched a new apprenticeships website In parallel with our Discover Risk initiative, this serves to explain apprenticeships, and their benefits, to potential new entrants and their parents, and is actively promoted to young people.

Over the next few months we will create more websites aimed at other groups who might be interested in working in sector. Our plan is to create a series of bespoke sites to attract people from a range of backgrounds. As well as encouraging diversity this will provide new talent at a time when the profession is struggling with a skills shortage.

Together we can build a profession that garners the trust and confidence of those inside and out.

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