Fortune just released its list of the “100 best places to work,” and it’s just as notable for what’s not on the list as what is. Namely, only three insurance companies made the list USAA at number 17, Allianz Life Insurance at number 47, and Aflac at number 58.
There are also best places to work for IT professionals, and some more insurers make this list. Published in Computerworld a couple months back, leading IT employers include: USAA (number 2 in the large company category), Penn National Insurance (number 17 in the small company category), Principal Financial Group (number 18 among larger companies), American Fidelity Assurance (number 18 among mid-size companies), Nationwide Mutual Insurance (number 31 among large companies), Northwestern Mutual (number 55 among large company categories)
In its report, Fortune points to a challenge that many companies with sizeable IT operations are facing when it comes to attracting top tech talent: They are competing with many of the tech giants for the same hires. (As explained in an ancillary report: “Yes, Your Best Tech Staffers Really Do Wish They Worked at Google.”)
Unfortunately, the competition doesn’t end there. Very, small enterprises the startups are also a draw. In other words, insurers aren’t just competing with other insurers for tech talent, nor are they competing with the mortgage company down the street. They’re competing with a rising tech culture that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship. Many skills also attract premiums.
But it takes more than money to attract and retain tech talent. The intangibles matter a great deal too. Top professionals look for learning opportunities, places that adopt and work with new technologies. They also seek flexibility above and beyond the 9 to 5 mentality.
Let’s look at Computerworld’s summaries of what leading insurers are doing in the IT space:
USAA: There is a great deal of support for IT employee development, according to Computerworld. USAA has an average annual training budget of $3,076 for IT employees; 17% of its IT staff were promoted in the most recent year. “USAA campuses are dotted with fitness centers, health clinics, Starbucks coffee shops, relaxation lounges, child care facilities and cafeterias.” Plus, there’s the feeling of service for the greater good: USAA helps military families.
Penn National Insurance: IT is closely aligned with the business at this insurer, Computerworld reports. “IT is a strategic partner at this Harrisburg, Pa.-based insurance company, which does business in nine Eastern states, and techies get to work on interesting, challenging projects that support corporate goals.”
American Fidelity Insurance: The company pays a lot of attention to individual initiative and opportunities, the report states. The average IT training budget per employee is $2,620 a year. “IT leaders work with staffers to develop clearly defined career paths designed to help people meet their personal objectives, whether they aspire to become managers or senior-level technologists. Employees are allowed time during the workday to stay current with new technologies. A new campus, currently in the works, will be completely wireless, to encourage employee mobility and collaboration.”
Principal Financial Group: The financial services giant encourages an open, IT-centric culture to help drive new business opportunities. “This Des Moines-based financial services provider recently introduced a couple of new programs for its IT workers: An IT speaker series and code jams’ for IT employees and interns,” the report states. “IT is considered essential to achieving business results at Principal, and everyone from the CIO to interns has direct interaction with business partners and opportunities to influence business direction.”
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