SAN FRANCISCO - It’s no secret that the insurance industry isfacing an enormous talent gap in the comingyears. As more boomers retire every day, the industry will need tofill 70,000 positions per year, yet only 14,000 students each yearare currently pursuing risk and insurance degrees. But as JessicaGaudio of MyPath told attendees Thursday at the 2015 Social MediaConference for Financial Services, social media provides apowerful way to attract young workers.




Here’s the bad news:

  • Only 12 percent of millennials surveyed said they think of theinsurance industry as innovative

  • Just 5 percent thought of insurance as exciting

  • One-third of those surveyed described insurance as “boring”

Other industries, such as banking and tech, will be competingwith the insurance industry for younger talent, Gaudio said, andunless changes are made, the insurance industry will be unable tofill the coming shortage. Social media provides a great opportunityto let millennials know what the industry has to offer, and toaddress the misconceptions and limited understanding.


Read: Why millennials aren't happy at work




Millennials are sick of hearing vague platitudes like “followyour passion,” according to Gaudio. They want more specific careeradvice and are looking for opportunities. And the best way to reachthem is through social media. But how?




1. Know your targetaudience


To best reach and recruit the next generation, you need tounderstand who they are and what motivates them. Here are some keystats:

  • 70 million - the total number of millennials
  • $60,000 – their average household income
  • 26 percent – the number of millennials who are married

Other important info about millennials:

  • Many put off larger purchases such as homes until later inlife

  • Considered the most educated generation in history

  • Crave adventure and excitement

  • Strive for a healthy lifestyle

  • Driven by peer feedback

  • Value social causes, helping others

  • Key words they use to describe their priorities: happiness,passion, diversity, sharing, discovery

Millennials and technology


Millennials have grown up with technology and they take it forgranted. Therefore, they are far more likely to make it fit theirlifestyle. According to Gaudio, millenials:

  • Are tech-savvy

  • Use multiple devices

  • Rely on the Internet for information

  • Own smartphones (19 of 20)

  • Check their phones an average of 43 times a day

  • Spend 14.5 hours per week talking, texting and interacting onsocial media

  • Are used to adapting to technology that’s most convenient

  • Check social media at least once a day – that’s more than theywatch TV.

  • Use social media to find information

Advice: Build up your own millennial knowledge and keepup-to-date on their latest trends. In addition, keep up with thelatest social media platforms and changes. Use that data andinsight to effectively reach out and recruit to the youngeraudience.




2. Meet millennials where they are


Millennials aren’t just using social media to post pictures andchat with their friends; they’re using it to find jobs.

  • 30 percent of 18 to 29 year olds are social job seekers

  • 76 percent found their current position through social media

  • 76 percent want information they can understand

  • 59 percent want amazing visuals/graphics

  • 58 percent want an engaged community



3. Take social media to the next level


To engage with millennials, it’s important tocreate a social media and web presence that encourages engagement.For example:


Job postings should contain specific details aboutorganizational benefits, key values, and the company’sculture. For example:

  • Use videos to share interview advice and other generalknowledge.

  • Be consistent and timely with social media activity — alwaysrespond to comments and questions within 48 hours

  • Be proactive and ask questions of your followers.

Retaining millennials


And once you’ve attracted millennials, it’s just as importantthat you keep them around. Thirty percent of companies say they’velost 15 percent or more of their millennial employees within thepreceding year, Gaudio said. The solution: 50 percent ofmillennials said they will stay with a company that they can trustand that show personal interest in them.


“The insurance industry offers everything millennials arelooking for,” Gaudio concluded. “They just don’t know it yet.”


It’s up to you to change that.

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Paul Wilson

Paul Wilson is the editor-in-chief of BenefitsPRO Magazine and He has covered the insurance industry for more than a decade, including stints at Retirement Advisor Magazine and ProducersWeb.