Microsoft touted an eye-opening survey at the ACORD-LOMA forum in Las Vegas that said just that. About nine out of 10 millennials in the survey (people aged 18 to 27) said that having access at work to innovative technologies would make them more likely to take one job over another. About 38 percent of them said they felt strongly about this. Only flexible work schedules and locations scored higher.
These teens and twenty-somethings said access to technology was more important than opportunities to work on collaborative projects, to telecommute or to work with people their own age, according to the results. The Microsoft online survey was carried out this spring with 704 millennials in the United States and Canada.
They and about 80 million of their peers will be entering the workforce in the next five to 10 years, according to Bill Hartnett, general manager for Microsoft's U.S. Insurance Solutions Group. That number is not enough to entirely replace the departing baby boomers, but this fresh talent can surely soften the demographic blow.
Yet insurance isn't the only industry that needs to replenish its talent. It faces stiff competition in attracting these millennials, said Hartnett. Cool technology could be a key.
So said Karen Pauli, senior analyst, insurance, with TowerGroup. Instant messaging, handheld everything, 24/7 communication, tools that provide immediate solutions--transformational technology is needed to draw in this next generation, she said.
Ryan Albers, commercial agrigultural vice president with farm insurance carrier FBL Financial Group Inc., stressed how a main benefit of his company's move from a paper-based to paperless system was that it would attract new, young talent.
"We can offer them something," he said during a Thursday session at ACORD-LOMA.
It seems, however, few carriers are. Barry Rabkin, senior research analyst with Insurance Financial Insights, gave a presentation on Wednesday that focused on how reluctant insurers are in embracing Web 2.0 and other innovative tools.
Rabkin called Web 2.0 a "vast wasteland of opportunity" with insurers, which fail to realize how powerful blogs, wikis and other such tools can be for communication and collaboration.
Some carriers, though, are engaging these technologies, according to John Del Santo of Accenture.
The managing director said he's seen "definitely a big uptick" in their use.
And he agreed that one motivation could be to attract the next generation of employees. But for the most part, he said, motivation to use the latest tech is survival in the soft market--for customer service, marketing, driving traffic and sales.
The ACORD LOMA Insurance Systems Forum occurs every May with the goal of delivering strategies and methods to transform the way insurers think and work with technology.
is senior editor/Web editor of Risk & Insurance®.
May 16, 2008
Copyright 2008© LRP Publications