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Building an Agile, Next-Generation Workforce

With the insurance industry facing a critical talent shortage, the L&D team at Allianz Commercial ramped up hiring and training of next-generation talent.


Fri Jun 14 2024

Building an Agile, Next-Generation Workforce

Allianz Commercial: 2024 BEST Award Winner, #18

With the insurance industry facing a critical talent shortage, the L&D team at Allianz Commercial ramped up hiring and training of next-generation talent—specifically those from Gen Z. The team launched a series of early-career programs that attracted candidates and upskilled employees in the initial stages of their careers, far exceeding its goals in developing a fresh, age-diverse talent base.


When the L&D function recognized the talent shortage at Allianz Commercial, a global corporate insurance carrier headquartered in Munich, Germany, the problem was exacerbated by an aging workforce, with many senior business leaders preparing for retirement, explains Lindsay Fletcher, vice president of global L&D. "Without decisive action, we risked a future void of the knowledge and expertise that enables us to understand, analyze, and manage risk effectively," he says.

To combat those risks and attract and develop the next generation of insurance professionals, the company designed several early-career programs: a flagship global graduate program implemented in all countries where the company conducts business; a dual-study program in Germany; an apprentice program in the UK; and various regional internships and working student programs.

The effects have been stunning: The organization staffed only 28 early-career employees in 2021, which increased to 60 in 2022. As of July 2023, the company comprises more than 100 early-career professionals. "Over the past 12 months, the median age of our employees dropped by approximately one year, and we have seen a 3.5 percent increase in the number of Gen Z employees," Fletcher states. "We've also hit our ambition to have more than 25 percent of employees under 35 years old."

It's not just the early-career employees who have benefited from upgrades in L&D. All staff members can take advantage of new learning opportunities due to the team's decision to centralize the learning budget. That "game changer" move significantly expanded self-service learning offerings, Fletcher explains. "Our employees are empowered to own their own development and no longer need to seek manager approval for funding."

His team has noted a major uptick in engagement with the company's learning offerings since the centralization effort, a notable win given the vast array of responsibilities among the more than 4,400 employees. "Employees manage accounts for diverse commercial clients, ranging from global consumer brands and financial institutions to big tech and major airlines," Fletcher notes, "so individualized learning is critical."


Another new learning initiative prepares more established employees for advancement. The AHEAD senior technical leadership development program assists senior leaders in accelerating the growth of their business units and meeting their profitability targets. It "creates a pipeline of internal talent ready for more senior roles, specifically by supporting our regional heads of underwriting to prepare for global heads of underwriting positions," Fletcher explains.

Immediately following graduation in June 2023, one out of 11 participants earned a promotion to a global position; the company placed the other 10 on the succession plan of at least one key global position, according to Fletcher. "Participants rated the program highly," he says, "earning an impressive overall rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars."

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