Today's Viewpoint: A MarshBerry Publication

How Can Smaller Insurance Agencies Compete for the Next Generation of Talent?

The insurance industry faces additional staffing challenges beyond the typical U.S. labor shortages. For smaller agencies, finding the best talent is a top priority, but not an easy task. The right network may be able to help.  

Every industry article you read is flooded with headlines around talent challenges – finding, training and retaining good talent. But do you know how the labor shortage is directly affecting your agency? Are you prepared to hire and train the next generation of talent into your agency? 

Smaller agencies face greater challenges than  larger brokers who have the resources for creating effective hiring and onboarding processes. Smaller agencies may not feel the direct impact of labor shortages every day but could find themselves unprepared and unable to compete with  bigger agencies to attract the best talent.  

As of January 2023, there were 10 million job openings in the U.S. with only 5.7 million unemployed workers looking to fill those roles.1 Since the start of the pandemic the U.S. labor force participation rate has dropped about 1%, or three million workers.1 Coming out of the pandemic, the Great Reshuffle and Great Resignation added pressure on the already tight labor market as workers looked for new, more flexible, higher paying jobs. All of these forces combined to create the competitive, tight labor market the U.S. is currently experiencing.    

To add to an already difficult situation, the insurance industry is facing additional staffing challenges. In the next 15 years 400,000 insurance professionals will retire and only 4% of millennials are interested in working in insurance.2  

As talent acquisition continues to be the number one challenge for insurance agencies, with over half of companies looking for talent – are you prepared to hire your next generation of talent?    

Do you have an attractive culture? 

While traditional 9 to 5 hours, stable employment and inclusive health insurance once enticed job seekers, today’s workers are looking for much more. What is important for recruiting today’s talent has changed, so your recruitment strategy must pivot.  

Specifically, many Millennials and Gen Z’ers value flexibility and a work/life balance. For agencies looking to compete with the bigger organizations, consider highlighting your culture, your agency’s involvement in the community, your philanthropic engagements, and other more wholesome attributes of your agency to attract this audience. Insurance is a noble profession, and this next generation wants to make a difference.  

Consider adding internships and more entry level positions to your organization. It may bring new and needed change to the culture of your agency. Be adaptable and open to new ideas and concepts that could ultimately lead to agency growth.  

Evaluate your hiring process. 

When was the last time you evaluated your hiring process? Have you updated job descriptions to best reflect what you are looking for? Do you have effective sourcing solutions? These questions are vital to think about when your agency looks to add a new team member. Things change quickly in the recruiting space and so do the roles on your team, so make sure you are utilizing the most up –to- date information.   

Just as important as your hiring process – take a look at your onboarding, training and talent retention strategy. Training and onboarding can have a substantial impact on the success of a new hire. Creating an inviting, nurturing environment for a new team member is vital to their success and the agency’s growth. Mentorship, as well as a solid educational plan,  helps solidify the new employee experience.  

What can you do right now?  

Evaluate your current situation. Do you have the right people in the right places? Who is doing what, and why? Review your current organizational chart and identify the roles you need to reach your goals. What are those positions? Where can you source the best candidates? Are you prepared to effectively onboard and train new hires? Make sure your culture shines on your website, throughout your social media channels and most importantly your job posts and descriptions.  

What can a network, like FirstChoice, do to help? 

Doing all of this can take time and knowledge that not every agency has. When beginning to evaluate your talent strategy it is important to be honest with yourself about your capabilities. Joining a network like FirstChoice can offer solutions to these complex challenges. Seasoned insurance professionals work with membership agencies in all aspects of agency management. From strategic planning, to building effective talent programs with current job descriptions, all the way through to compensation models, and onboarding processes – FirstChoice has a roadmap of education and resources to meet agencies where they are. 

If you have any questions about Today’s ViewPoint, or would like to learn more about giving your agency a competitive edge in today’s talent competition, emailor call Diane Wagner, Vice President of Education & Strategic Planning, FirstChoice, at 704.831.8715.     

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Contact Diane Wagner
If you have questions about Today's ViewPoint, or would like to learn more about how MarshBerry can help your firm determine its path forward, please email or call Diane Wagner, Vice President, Education & Strategic Planning , at 704.831.8715.

MarshBerry continues to be the #1 sell side advisor in the industry (as ranked by S&P Global). If you’re considering selling your firm, we are the best choice to help you through the complicated process. If you don’t hire MarshBerry, hire a reputable advisor that can help you navigate one of the most important business decisions you will ever make. You will be much better off having an advisor in your corner that knows the industry than trying to do this on your own.

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