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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 1 month ago

Study delves into how insurance industry can attract workers

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Employee shortage in insurance industry prompts interviews and roundtables with employers.

Construction, health care and manufacturing aren’t the only industries with worker shortages. The insurance industry is feeling it, too.

A new study by Sarasota-based CareerEdge Funders Collaborative addresses that issue, examining jobs and skills needed for area insurance companies to grow and meet the talent shortage head-on.

The study was put together using data from phone interviews and in-person roundtables with employers. One area employer that participated, for instance, has 60 job openings.

Mireya Eavey, chief workforce officer for The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, tells Coffee Talk many of the insurance companies that participated in the study are competitors. “They came together because they realize they have to work together to address this shortage of workers,” she says.

One key finding from talks with employers is students don’t understand insurance. “We have to change the story in schools,” Eavey says.

To do that, some rebranding of the industry and the available careers is in order. “The biggest thing is rebranding — highlighting this industry of good-paying jobs,” she says.

Employers also conveyed they want to be more involved in developing higher education programs about insurance. “Employers are eager to be part of the solution,” Eavey says. “The programs we currently have aren’t exactly what we need.”

The next step is presenting the findings to educators from a variety of educational entities, from Sarasota County Schools to State College of Florida. “We look at this as an opportunity for them,” Eavey says. “Educators are eager to have programs that fit the needs.”

After educator feedback is collected, a communitywide plan will be developed with specific action steps. The process is similar to one CareerEdge successfully followed for the manufacturing industry. 

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