How to Transition Your Career out of the Employee Benefits Industry


The first thing that I need you to do, is to uninstall the app that is  running in the back of your brain.

The one that is called “I Got This”.

It needs to be un-installed because 90% of the information embedded into that app, no longer applies today!

You probably don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, right?

Look, if you haven’t had a reason to search for a job in the past 3 year, then like most people, you probably assume that finding a job is not a difficult thing to do.  

And I can understand why, because you are getting  telephone calls, emails and daily alerts about job opportunities. And, most likely  you haven’t had to search for a job your entire career. Either you were recruited by a headhunter or referred by someone who you knew from a previous job.  And, that is also your expectations for your future jobs .

I hear you loud and clear, but there are three potential challenges that I see in the employee benefits consulting Industry that can impact your career:

  1. Because of consolidation, there are a very limited amount of National and Middle market brokerage agencies in that space. This means that there is limited available opportunities for career growth for the amount of people in the Industry.
  2. Benefit and Group health insurance is no longer a growing sector. Thanks to Obamacare.  fewer jobs will be created and technology will continue to eliminate jobs at an increasing rate.
  3. The odds of continuing your career in this space for the next 30 years will be very low; sooner or later your career will be impacted by this shrinkage.

I’m sorry, what?

You have no intention of spending your entire career in the Industry?

So… how long do you plan to stay, and what other industry is of interest to you?

You’re not sure?

OK, I have two suggestion for you and I am not trying to sell you anything!

You may not have the experience required in another Industry for your level of compensation.  And you certainly do not want to take a step backwards in your career in terms of compensation-it will take a long time to catch up.

So, how do you transition out of the employee benefits Industry?

You have to be strategic with your career plans!

You have to start your search for  a new opportunity before you have a need to leave your present employer.   

If you are actively doing your search only after a strong motivation to leave your present job exist, then you job search process will become stressful and your decision making process may be compromised.  

Bad career decisions, such as accepting a counteroffer to remain with your present employer, accepting the wrong job for the right compensation, or accepting an OK job at a lower compensation normally happens when one is not strategic in her career. But the worst part is to look back at one’s career and see a “job hopper-lots of career moves without continuity and logical progression. 

Here are the 3 things others have done in order to make a successful transition from the employee benefits Industry..

  1. Do your research to identify the type of roles where your employee benefit skills can solve a problem or create an opportunity
  2. Start networking with individuals in that particular Industry.
  3. Identify the particular skills that you need to acquire and look inside your present organization for the type of projects that will give you that exposure.

Final Thoughts

It was not unusual for your predecessors  to enjoy a career that lasted 30 years in the same Industry.  They simply hopped around in the Industry, from one consulting firm to another;  from a smaller firm to a large firm; from the carrier side to  most likely a Benefits Director role on the client side.  Each firm back then had a different culture, but today it is a totally different ball game. All the firms today are using the same best practice techniques, going after the same customers, and using the same tools to recruit talent away from each other. In addition, consolidation, technology, Obamacare and a changing workforce in terms of cultural and demographic  has challenged the employee benefits consulting Industry in terms of acquiring and nurturing clients and staff .  Combined, these challenges has certainly curtailed the career growth of many, but it has created opportunities for only a few.  The ones with the vision for identifying opportunities inside and outside of the Industry and are strategic in transitioning their careers.