The Great Resignation—why insurance agencies should take note

March 22, 2022

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 33 million U.S. employees have resigned from their jobs since April 2021. In November 2021 alone, 4.5 million workers resigned. For many reasons, individuals in the U.S. are reevaluating their employment—and according to a Microsoft survey, 41% of employees worldwide are thinking about leaving their jobs, if they haven’t already. This massive movement by employees to reshape their careers has been dubbed The Great Resignation—and it has significant implications for the insurance industry.

Why employees are resigning

According to the Pew Research Center, 63% of U.S. employees resigned from their jobs because they weren’t satisfied with their income. The same percentage of employees quit because they didn’t have opportunities to advance their careers in their current positions.

Additionally, Pew found eight other reasons why employees chose to resign:

  1. 57% quit because they felt disrespected at work;
  2. 48% cited child care issues;
  3. 43% quit because they didn’t have enough flexibility to choose when they could work;
  4. 43% left because they weren’t given adequate benefits (e.g., health insurance, paid time off);
  5. 35% cited wanting to relocate;
  6. 39% quit because they were working too many hours;
  7. 30% cited not working enough hours; and
  8. 18% quit because their employers were requiring them to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Some of these reasons don’t apply to everyone (e.g., child care issues, wanting to relocate, vaccine requirements). However, these statistics point to inadequacies in the workforce related to compensation, career advancement, disrespect, flexibility, benefits, overtime and lack of work—which can apply to anyone.

Implications for the insurance industry

A study assessing the insurance labor market in the third quarter of 2021 showed similar patterns in insurance professionals—many of them are exploring their options and reevaluating their current positions.

In response to the study, Triple I pointed out that an average of 56% of insurance companies are trying to increase their staff—the top reason for which is that they are understaffed. If employees around the nation are resigning for the reasons mentioned above, then it’s not a stretch to consider that these reasons may be why insurance companies are understaffed.

Attract and keep your insurance professionals

To attract and keep insurance professionals at their agencies, insurance-agency leaders should review how they compensate their staff with wages and benefits, how they afford their staff flexibility and how they provide their staff with opportunities for career growth.

This is especially important when insurance companies consider the younger workforce—professionals from the millennial generation and Generation Z.

According to Pew, 37% of American adults who resigned in 2021 were younger than 30 years old, and according to Bankrate’s August 2021 Job Seeker Survey, 63% and 77% of respondents  from the millennial generation and Gen Z, respectively, said they were planning to look for new work in the next year.

Research shows that millennials who don’t believe they are compensated fairly or that their work lacks purpose are 3-4 times more likely to quit their job, and 51% of employees from Gen Z would stay longer if they are compensated well and if they enjoy their job.

PIA can help

To help agencies attract new talent, PIA offers its Agency Staffing Assistance Program. The program is a comprehensive tool kit that can help PIA Northeast members recognize, recruit and train valuable, new employees.

Alexandra Chouinard
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Alexandra Chouinard has editing, writing, advertising and publishing experience from her Alma Mater, Loyola University, where she earned a dual Bachelor of Arts Degree in Writing and Communication.

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