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09:38 AM
Michael Voelker
Michael Voelker
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Building an IT Workforce-Online

One aspect of the Web that the insurance industry appears to have embraced enthusiatically is its value as a recruiting andprofessional development medium. In fact, dot-coms have pretty much replaced print media in general as the resource of choice for IT professionals seeking employment.

"Having an online strategy is important because that's where IT people are looking," says Megan Lavelle, human resource director at the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC, Indianapolis). "It's almost a waste of time to advertise in the paper." To underscore that point, NAMIC formed a partnership with (Cleveland) to provide member companies greater access to online recruiting.

Although company-specific details are hard to come by, says Tom Flood, vice president of business development at, "as much as 25 percent of insurers' overall positions are filled online. When it comes to IT, I wouldn't be surprised if that figure was 80 percent."

Using dot-com resources effectively can also help improve insurers' technology images. "It should be a first line of attack, not just because IT people are online, but because if you're not, it supports the perception that insurance isn't using up-to-date technology," says Sheila Nicoll, executive director of (New York), a career and education re-source for the industry.

Insurers must decide not only the extent to which they use online job sites, but also which sites fit best into their strategy. As the Web evolves, sites are becoming more specialized and varied in focus. "Using a 'mega' site has advantages, but it's also time consuming to sort through the applications," says Gregg Dykstra, vice president, internal operations, NAMIC. "It will filter down, and online recruiters will carve out niches."'s Nicoll believes effectively serving the insurance niche means not only matching candidates to employers, but also providing career resources and promoting the industry. "We have also been told by insurers that they've had greater success at recruiting college students for IT positions," she says. "So part of our campaign will be to target that. Part will also be promoting our site on other Web sites and publications that are not related to insurance."

Nicoll reports that out of the many categories on's site, only about five percent are for IT jobs. "I believe that when looking for IT people, insurance companies are mainly looking outside the insurance industry," she adds.

Similarly, NAMIC hopes the partnership with JobOptions will help bring a larger pool of recruits to the industry. "JobOptions' strategy is to build a network of career centers," says Dykstra. "They want to build an association of organizations like us and link all these networks into one large database. So if I'm an IT person looking for a particular type of technology, I can easily find it."

"Because of that network, candidates have access to more than 220,000 jobs via thematic career centers," says's Flood. "And insurance companies can avail themselves of the advantages NAMIC can offer."

Whether insurers can use dot-coms as their sole recruitment sources depends in part upon each insurer's particular strategy; however, NAMIC's Lavelle reports working with at least several companies that do just that.



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