A small ticker trends item in our broker news section this month notes the average age of an insurance industry professional is 56. Virtually all of these pros will retire in 10 years. Right now, most have no one to replace them as high-impact producers, no one to sell their firms to and no one young enough coming up in the ranks with the skills to someday take over the business.

Who’s at fault here? Look in the mirror.

If you don’t do something now, this industry and your business will face a financial disaster. For those of you who read this page regularly, you know I’m on my horse again about recruiting young people into the business. But I’m not screaming the sky is falling because it potentially is falling on everyone else as well.

In our first issue of Leader’s Edge seven years ago, Julia Kramer, our HR guru and columnist, noted that in 2010 we would reach the tipping point of skilled labor in the U.S. Well, thanks to the recession, that has been put off for a few years. But it is still coming. Insurance brokerages will be competing with every other industry in the U.S. for a limited pool of financial and marketing talent. Add that to the fact that in 10 years the average industry leader will be gone, and we have a real mess on our hands.

Brokers have been reluctant to hire young people since most brokers incorrectly believe it is far more efficient to hire an experienced older hand. Earlier this year we ran a story about Reagan Consulting’s study on how it is actually less expensive and more profitable to hire a recent college grad producer than an old-timer to jumpstart sales. The story explained how it just makes good sense to make a concerted effort to recruit bright college kids.

We all know the issues you face: the public’s (i.e., young college grads) perception of this industry as a dull, dull, dull career option. We at The Council have made a concerted effort through Leader’s Edge to show just the opposite. This month we take that one step further by introducing our first nationwide college recruiting effort. First, thousands of copies of a special supplement to this magazine, aimed directly at college students, was mailed to more than 400 college and university career placement offices throughout the U.S. The publication explains a number of career options in the commercial insurance business with a special emphasis on commercial insurance brokerage.

Along with our online recruitment center, LeadersEdgeMagazine.com/careers, this outreach effort will reach literally hundreds of thousands of potential future employees throughout this academic year. Seniors and lower classmen who are searching out potential, lucrative, financial careers will now learn about us and what we do. Up to this point, the commercial insurance brokerage end of this industry has had such a low public profile that college students didn’t even know we existed. With your help, we will raise our public profile considerably this year.

This will not be limited to a few hundred seniors from a few select universities as many of your recruitment programs now do. It won’t be limited to even a few thousand, but instead, tens of thousands of students from every corner of the U.S. will learn about us. Why not go after the very best of a very large pool of talent? If you participate, we will hook you up with these future industry leaders.  

It is too late to advertise your firm as a great place to work in the print recruitment publication. However, you still have time to be included in the 2010-2011 academic year online recruitment center. Help us help you find the right job candidates for your firm. Act now.