If you're a risk professional, your job is to keep your company out of trouble, keep its employees safe, and make sure its products arrive at their destinations intact. A recent college graduate can learn those skills. (Shutterstock) If you’re a risk professional, your job is to keep your company out of trouble, keep its employees safe, and make sure its products arrive at their destinations intact. A recent college graduate can learn those skills. (Shutterstock)

It’s May, the month when many are making plans to attend college commencements.

Those graduates are taking their new diplomas with them in search of careers — or at least gainful employment. I’d like to see them consider insurance, but I know it has the reputation of being stodgy.

It’s a challenge to us all to explain to new grads that “nothing happens without insurance.” Think of the expansion of the drone industry or autonomous vehicles, for example.

What does ‘diversity’ mean?

As the insurance industry competes for new graduates, I’d like to urge hiring managers to look outside the traditional sources for finding new employees. You hear a lot about “diversity” in business media as well as the popular press, but what does it really mean? The May cover story for National Underwriter Property & Casualty magazine, “Talent Search,” takes an in-depth look at where innovative companies are looking for employees and what skills they value.

One recent insurance company executive I interviewed noted that there are many different kinds of diversity to consider. In addition to looking past race, gender, ethnicity or religion, he believes it’s important to find diversity of thought. All too often employers recruit from colleges or geographies that they’re comfortable with. But everyone who graduated from the same college within the same few years is likely to have studied with the same professors and were subject to the same influences.

Nontraditional sources

Colleges are expanding programs in insurance and risk management, which gives students a look into the exciting world of insurance, as demonstrated by the number of schools that are part of the University Risk Management and Insurance Association. Yes, I said “exciting.” If you’re a risk professional, your job is to keep your company out of trouble, keep its employees safe, and make sure its products arrive at their destinations intact.

A recent college graduate can learn those skills, but another good option is to consider members of the military who are leaving the service. Many are involved in supply chain management and the logistics of moving soldiers and supplies across the country and across the world. A critical need, especially after a natural disaster.

Another overlooked source of potential employees are those over the age of 40. Many mid-level managers lost their jobs due to cutbacks in other industries. They have solid managerial skills, they’re eager to continue their careers, and they can learn the nuances of insurance.

Possibly the most overlooked group of potential employees are people with disabilities. They often report feeling invisible to employers. Customer service reps spend most of their time on the phone with clients. Being blind doesn’t affect a person’s ability to carry on a conversation. And one of the top sales clerks in the men’s department at my local Macy’s zooms up and down the aisles in his wheelchair.

When you’re recruiting new talent, be sure not to look in the mirror and hope to find someone who looks, thinks and acts as you do. You’ll be missing out on people with skills that you didn’t know you needed until that employee arrived in your office.

Think of it this way: The Broadway show “Hamilton” is a great success even though the actors look nothing like the Founding Fathers. But they get the job done, as the box office receipts demonstrate.

And that’s what’s top of mind this month.

Rosalie Donlon (rdonlon@alm.com) is editor in chief of NU P&C. These opinions are her own.

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