While the sales departments of insurance companies have been the biggest recruiters traditionally, segments like operations, digital, technology and actuary are also offering great career opportunities, says Rajendra Ghag.
Insurance industry at large and life insurance industry in particular has come a long way since its privatisation in 2000. Today, it is one of the largest retail financial service businesses with around 36 crore in-force policies managing assets of Rs 17.41 lakh crore. It is critical to the economy of the country from both economic and employment generation point of view. It has a spread of more than 10,000 offices across the country (72% in semi-urban and rural areas). With 24 players, it employs ~2.41 lakh employees and ~21.30 lakh individual agents.
Areas of Opportunities
Though, sales have always been one of the largest and lucrative recruitment areas for the life insurance industry, other areas such as Operations, Digital, Technology, Actuary etc. offer good career opportunities. The emergence of diverse distribution channels such as agents, direct, online, etc; provide interesting opportunity to build a sound sales career. Both graduates and experienced talent is the need of the hour, especially where managing the demand as well as strategic expansion of these business channels is concerned. This is one industry where people grow to be strong sales professional and people manager with speed and ease. In addition to ensuring that people managers get a good role orientation, most players have rolled out programs and assessments, which help create future leaders from amongst the gen Y careerists joining this industry.
The industry is perceived to be tough given its` ‘push’ proposition with the perception of `selling insurance as a challenging task.` However, with the financial literacy of the masses being on the evolving phase and awareness about life insurance products improving, one sees a bright future ahead for careerist in this industry. Insurance products have a huge market potential (more than 85 per cent of insurable population is still to be insured). If one acquires skills to explain products to a customer, it will create more demand and even greater job opportunities in this industry. This skills and knowledge, which this industry offers, increases the employability even beyond this industry. The industry has invested significantly in the area of learning and development, which is a necessity and not a choice for the employees, who are required to learn to adopt changes almost on daily basis. Many players have resorted to e-learning platforms, resulting in more than 50 per cent of learning being offered through user friendly and simple LMS (Learning Management System). However, this industry is not for talent with short term outlook. It is only for those who are patient and aim to build a long term career by grabbing learning and growth opportunity it offers in a systematic way.
With a whole new generation getting hooked on to the social media, online/digital marketing is one such space where organisations in insurance industry too are exploring the possibilities of coming up with innovative ways to target a large number of people (mostly young) for prospective employment.
Skills and Capabilities
The life insurance industry looks for both fresh and experienced talent. While hiring from campus, it look at the academic track record of a candidate to have a sense of consistency and learning needs, and also her/his background and desire to make a career here. These pointers help in gauging to a good degree the candidate’s earnestness and the likelihood of him/her staying with the company for a few years. Once the candidates are short-listed, other tools/processes like Group Discussion, Personal Interview, Aptitude test etc are applied to select the potential talent.
For team leader/supervisory roles, apart from educational qualifications, experience and family background, the company also looks domain knowledge, team membership and leadership.
- The author is Senior Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resource Officer, HDFC Life.