by Sheryl Feminis
The job market looks good for insurance agents and actuaries over the next decade. Not so much for locomotive firers and watch repairers.
Expect plenty of jobs for home health aides and solar-panel installers but few opportunities for respiratory therapy techs and mine shuttle car operators.
These glimpses into the future are from newly released employment projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Every two years, the BLS predicts job and industry trends for a 10-year period.
And you thought it was risky to forecast the weekend weather.
Also on the endangered job species list: telephone operators and mail carriers. I mention these categories as a personal aside. In 1950, my mom, a telephone operator, married my dad, a mail carrier. She eventually left the switchboard (Google it) for a more secure work-at-home role — mother of three. He eventually left the rigors of mail delivery (it was mostly on foot back then, even in rain, snow, sleet and hail) for a cushier white-collar lifestyle — claims adjuster with a company that was like a good neighbor.
Mom and Dad enjoyed long-term success. Next week, they will celebrate their 67th wedding anniversary. I’ll wait while that sinks in …
Now, back to the bright outlook for insurance careers. While neither agent nor actuary is among the 15 fastest-growing occupations forecast through 2026, both are predicted to grow at a pace well above the 7% average for all occupations. The agent category will grow by 10% and actuary by 22%. (Most of the fastest-growing categories are health care-related. Oh, and bicycle repairers will also be a hot commodity.)
I like to think we’re finally past the dark age when insurance was considered a boring, stuffy industry where misguided souls simply ended up on the way to more glamorous jobs. (Joke’s on everyone who didn’t have the foresight to choose a recession-proof career.)
Growing numbers of colleges and universities offer insurance majors, and the Big I’s InVEST program continues to impress students, so generations Y and Z have early exposure to insurance as a career option. Young agent groups and others like the people at InsNerds.com continue to advocate for working in the industry. Every day, positive messages emanate from agencies, carriers, associations, industry-specific solution providers and insurance communications specialists. Many participate in the great work of the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation. Most engage in mentoring, training and important community outreach.
It’s exciting to think about how insurance will morph in response to emerging risks and technology advances. Change will look different for everyone — from small, family-owned agencies to mega-complex global organizations. The commonality, though, lives on through every forecast: The job outlook is bright because the work remains noble. This remains an industry of people who help others protect their lives and their loved ones. Who doesn’t feel good about that?