With more than 30 years of experience as a financial advisor, Terry Zavitz, founder and president of Zavitz Insurance, sees a growing problem of finding qualified people to work in the insurance industry as advisors and in support roles within financial service firms.

Zavitz warns that the lack of new blood entering the industry, combined with the aging of the advisor channel, could open the door for new players to enter.

“I think it opens up opportunities for larger institutions like the banks to fill that void.”

Zavitz says her firm has struggled to attract qualified people to be advisors. “We need advisors and they’re hard to come by,” she says. She attributes this to the fact many people don’t consider a career in the financial services.

“It’s not ingrained in people who don’t have parents in the industry…that it is a really great industry to get into.”

Zavitz says it is an unknown career path that once people discover, they find very appealing.

Quality education courses

She sees education and awareness as a key to getting more people into the aging industry. She adds that the educational opportunities and the courses are much better than they used to be, but improvements could be made.

“There are some really good college programs out there, but I think they could be longer and perhaps co-op, so people get an understanding of what the insurance industry is all about.”

Most college courses specializing in financial services are relativity new. Extending the length of the programs would enable the students to be better prepared to enter the industry, she says.

Appeal to a broader demographic

To combat the recruitment challenge in the industry, Zavitz says it’s important for financial service companies to look to a broader demographic of people to recruit than those who are just out of high school. She adds that a lot of recruits are very young and that can be a problem in the long run.

Another problem Zavitz sees is that there are no longer enough career agencies recruiting people into the industry and then training them up.

“A lot companies like myself, we try to do it, but we lack the resources and...the expertise to do it,” says Zavitz.

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