Booming retirements ensure stable jobs
Published: Friday, September 27, 2013
Updated: Friday, September 27, 2013 01:09
The Insuring Ohio Futures campaign is an initiative promoted by Ohio Lt. Governor and Director of the Ohio Department of Insurance Mary Taylor. The campaign seeks to fill roughly 17,000 jobs in Ohio’s insurance industry that have opened because of increasing Baby Boomer retirement rates.
Insurance agencies are largely looking to current college students to meet those needs, and with the decreasing number of qualified workers, it is likely students will have career options upon graduation, according to Taylor.
Ohio is currently a leader in the insurance industry, with more than $17 billion in economic activity and roughly 100,000 positions tied to it, according to Taylor. She added that Ohio ranks seventh in the nation in terms of insurance activity. Because of its prominence in the economy, the possible decline of the industry is a concern.
“We always worry about any opportunity that exists to lose jobs in Ohio,” Taylor said. “And part of losing a job is not being able to fill it with a qualified individual.”
There are currently more than 250 insurance companies in the state competing with one another for clients, according to Taylor. But they are now coming together to fill their open jobs with qualified workers.
The Insuring Ohio Futures Campaign is a collaboration between Taylor, Governor John Kasich’s office, the insurance industry and both two and four year colleges and universities. According to Dan Hedman, an executive of Paul Werth Associates, the campaign’s purpose is to educate three specific groups--college students, adults looking to change careers and veterans-- on the job options available to them.
“The goal of this initiative is to raise awareness about the needs of the industry as well as the opportunities Ohioans have to meet these needs,” Taylor said.
To raise awareness of the Insuring Ohio Futures initiative, Taylor spoke at Kent State earlier this year, which has just launched a four-year degree program to train students for the insurance industry. She said she wants to raise awareness at other Ohio colleges as well.
Junior marketing major, Molly Luebkemann, said she isn’t sure how to feel about the surge in jobs.
“I guess I would be more optimistic if I was more in the insurance field, or I guess if I planned on going into marketing for an insurance company,” Luebkemann said.
Social Media Director for State Auto Insurance Katie Peet said she was surprised by the variety of roles one can play in an insurance company. Companies need marketers, financers, human resources representatives and people in technology fields among others.
“No matter where you fit in as far as your major,” Peet said. “You’re likely to find [a position] that will be very useful to you.”
Peet is currently in a position, which is relatively new to the industry. Recognizing that social media play a big part in how information is circulated, more companies are integrating them into their business models.
The Insuring Ohio Futures website offers resources for those looking to go into insurance, especially those who are not prepared for the field. With the “Ask a Pro” tool, students and graduates alike can speak to current workers in the industry about possible career options and how to get there. According to Peet, students don’t necessarily have to be trained specifically for work in insurance upon entering the field. Sometimes, companies like to have someone with a specific personality as opposed to specific qualifications.
“If you are a good fit, they might train you even if you don’t necessarily have that right degree,” Peet said.