Applying AI to Solve the Talent Crunch and How to Avoid Its Pitfalls with WAHVE CEO

Mar 13, 2024 / by AAIS

For this Advisory Report, AAIS spoke with Sharon Emek, Ph.D., CIC, CEO of AAIS Partner, WAHVE, a unique contract staffing talent solution serving the insurance industry, for a two-part series on how to solve the talent crunch and retain quality talent in the insurance industry. In part one, Emek addressed the state of the talent gap in the insurance industry, searching for candidates with AI, advice for hiring managers, and more. 

State of the Talent Gap in the Insurance Industry & Efforts to Fill It

Emek admitted the state of the talent gap in the insurance industry is complex. “It started probably in the late 1990s when carriers began to close down their insurance schools,” she said. “Also, the money was with the technology space and Wall Street, which were exploding at the time, so we didn't attract a lot of young people.” As a result, the population in the insurance industry began to age.

According to Emek, industry professionals are beginning to realize that finding talent from four-year colleges is no longer ideal. “We have to start looking at non-traditional ways of [filling the talent gap]; maybe start looking at two-year colleges or even high school graduates,” she advised. “We should be creating more kinds of mentorship programs and internships so that people can learn and understand how powerful our industry is.” Even though the industry is beginning to look at these different methodologies for attracting young talent, the issue then becomes how to keep them. “Young people move [jobs] very quickly and the industry is used to having people with longevity.,” said Emek. “We have to rethink that because longevity might not be there going forward.”

Trends Affecting the Search for Talent

As Emek mentioned, one of the main issues affecting the industry is that young talent tends to job-hop. “This is really affecting the industry because we’re not understanding what that means,” she said. “We need to come up with a methodology to keep that job hopping within the industry, so we at least keep the talent.” Another trend is that the industry is moving to look at the underserved population for talent, like within the military. “We need to look at how to create the skills and the talent that we need,” Emek urged. “There are some companies that are setting up their own insurance schools to teach kids because the future is going to not necessarily be about a college degree, but more about the skills.”

Searching for Candidates with AI

AI’s role in finding the right candidates is a bit complicated and problematic for Emek. But AI does help when it comes to job boards like Indeed. “It looks at words in a resume and words in your job ad and it does a screening based on them,” she explained. But, according to Emek, the problem is that AI does not fully qualify the applicant, so hiring managers may end up getting applicants who are overqualified for the position. “It’s still too new [of a technology],” she claimed. “But it will evolve and there will be more sophisticated methodologies used to make sure that you're getting better-qualified resumes.” Another issue is that AI tools exclude a lot of candidates if you leave out certain details in the job ad. “If you don't put a salary range, you're going to exclude people because more experienced candidates might look at the job and assume that since there's no salary listed, it's going to be a low salary,” Emek warned.

Advice for Hiring Managers

“Advice I would give hiring managers is to make sure job descriptions are accurate, which means that they have to communicate more with HR,” Emek suggested. “Sometimes, HR writes job ads and they don’t fully understand the hiring managers’ needs, so there is a disconnect. They really need to work together to make sure the right message is getting out there.” Emek also reminds hiring managers to not exclude candidates just because they do not possess a certain hard skill. “When you're looking at those resumes, you have to look at what their soft skills are, because people don't always tell the truth [about hard skills],” Emek shared. “You have to make sure you consider the soft skills of that person because many times they’re more important.” She believes too many candidates tend to get excluded because of that.

To view the full interview with Sharon Emek, please click the video above.

In part two of this series, Emek discusses how to retain quality talent in a competitive environment. Click here to watch the interview.

Tags: Machine Learning/AI, Remote Work, WAHVE, AI, Artificial Intelligence, talent gap, Advisory Report


Written by AAIS

Unleashing Product Potential...Together

Lists by Topic

see all

Posts by Tag

See all