The German insurance industry is changing. External developments, such as changing customer needs, economic and social tensions, legal requirements, and internal demands, such as shaping corporate culture or strategic business development, not only make change necessary - they actively drive it.
The labor market is also changing. Across all sectors, supply and demand are shifting, as are the requirements and demands of employees and employers. But what exactly does this mean for the German insurance industry? Why do these changes occur? How are these already manifesting themselves, and what is expected for the future? And above all, how can these changes be addressed and shaped? These questions - and the corresponding answers - are the focus of a joint white paper written by adesso insurance solutions and Versicherungsforen Leipzig based on surveys.
A homemade problem?!
"The shortage of skilled workers that insurance companies are experiencing is homemade." This was one of three theses that the industry experts were asked to address at the beginning of the survey. Just under two-thirds of respondents said "No." For them, it is external factors in particular that are contributing to companies having difficulty filling vacancies with suitable and qualified skilled workers. Nevertheless, at least one-third of respondents (tend to) agree with the thesis that the shortage of skilled workers is self-inflicted. This means that there are also self-critical voices in the industry whose reflections can contribute a great deal. And above all, it shows that many companies believe they can bring about change on their own.
Business models will change
And these changes are necessary. Because with 61%, the majority of respondents (tend to) believe that the shortage of skilled workers will make changes to insurance company business models unavoidable. Why does the shortage of skilled workers have an impact on the business model? And in what direction does it need to change? We address the first question in this white paper, the second will be addressed in subsequent editions of the series. However, one-third of the respondents also believe less in the need for a change in business model.
IT and sales positions most difficult to fill
A detailed look at the specialist areas shows that there is currently - and unsurprisingly - a particular shortage of specialists in the IT/digitalization area, as indicated by 92% of the experts, followed by the sales area, which was selected by 73%. The majority of experts predict that these two areas will continue to have the greatest demand for skilled workers in the future, although this demand is expected to decline somewhat - presumably thanks to advances in digitalization. These, in turn, require the right professionals to be implemented. This is a cycle that is difficult to break, as although talented IT experts are already available on the market and are being trained, their number is currently insufficient to fill all the gaps. As a result, adapted recruiting measures and retraining initiatives are becoming increasingly important.
Causes of the shortage of skilled workers
To find a strategic long-term solution to problems, it is necessary to identify and target the root causes. The shortage of skilled workers is due to a number of causes that vary in their degree of influence, and can be affected by both external and internal drivers.
Almost 80 percent of the industry experts surveyed see demographic change as the main cause of the shortage of skilled workers in the insurance industry, an external factor that cannot really be influenced. However, causes such as the industry's lack of appeal (63%), purpose (53%) and innovativeness (51%), as well as a hierarchical management culture (43%), are more attributable to the industry's work culture and thus internal factors that companies are entirely capable of changing.
Change is necessary
The good news first: Almost two-thirds of employees at insurance companies are (very) satisfied with their employer. It is indeed true that the most important aspects of work for employees are still the "classics": salary/benefits, a good working atmosphere, and job security. However, more modern components of work environment issues such as work-life balance, flexible work schedules, and meaningfulness are also rated as relevant by two-thirds to three-quarters of the employees surveyed.
Unsurprisingly, there is a particular shortage of skilled workers in the IT/digitalization sector, followed by the sales sector. Currently, expertise, IT skills, and service and customer orientation are in especially high demand. In the next five to ten years, the need for IT skills in particular will continue to grow in order to seize upon technological progress and implement it in new business models.
Would you like to learn more about how the shortage of skilled workers is a driver of change? Find answers to the most important questions regarding the shortage of skilled workers in the German insurance industry in our free white paper – only available in German language. Download it here now!