One of the greatest feelings for an actuarial student is to get your last set of actuarial results to find you are now a qualified actuary.
The question is – what do you do next ?
As an actuary, you have the enviable position of occupying one of the top, if not the top, jobs in the world as consistently voted by http://www.careercast.com/
We will explore the following topics for the newly qualified actuary:
- Career options
- Salary levels
- Sample job description
- Mutual recognition
This is your opportune time to develop or enhance a whole new skill set, particularly with regard to Managerial skills e.g. people management, mentor responsibility, delegation, performance management and conducting appraisals.
In addition you will typically be given extra responsibility, as noted by one newly qualified actuary: “Since qualifying I have found that I have been given more responsibility in the office. This includes working on new clients as well as moving up a level on the clients I have regularly worked on, increasing my direct client contact. The only downside is I now have to work five days a week!”
While you may have had different responsibilities as part of an actuarial rotational policy while a student, after you’ve qualified as an actuary you will typically specialise in one of the practice areas, at least initially.
These could be Pricing, Reserving, Capital Management (in a direct insurer or reinsurer, in either life insurance or general insurance) or a ore diverse role in actuarial consulting.
Or you could go travelling (see mutual recognition below).
The Institute & Faculty of Actuaries in the UK have published various salaries for varying levels of actuaries, from actuarial graduates to actuarial trainees to newly qualified actuaries all the way up to Chief Actuary and Head of Actuarial Function. These actuarial salaries can be seen at here.
There are a number of articles which highlight the salary levels for actuaries and these can be found here.
Sample job description
While each actuarial role will be different, on qualifying as an actuary you will be expected to develop or enhance not just your technical skills but also your softer skills.
These would include, inter alia:
- Strong analytical and problem solving skills and ability to develop solutions
- Strong technical and modelling ability with experience in working with large databases, multiple data sources and complex models.
- Ability to apply actuarial techniques to practical business situations
- Desire to build and maintain internal and external business relationships
- Highly motivated with the ability to identify and introduce new initiatives
- Energy, drive & commitment to deliver excellent service to all areas of this growing business
- Ability to meet deadlines and to be a good team player
- Sense of risk and control
- Proactive team player who can work on own initiative, take ownership of allocated work and provide high quality, reasoned output with appropriate self-checking.
- Good interpersonal skills with the ability to interact and communicate effectively with employees across different departments and locations.
- Able to focus on priorities, targets and deadlines.
- Able to plan and manage own time and several projects at once, delivering them to agreed schedules and providing regular updates.
- Highly motivated and energetic.
- Strongly performance and improvement oriented.
- Proactive and innovative.
- Focused and analytical, with ability to see the “big picture” perspective.
- Keen business sense and an ability to simplify complex details
- A strong customer focus with the ability to challenge the team’s purpose and processes to ensure they are in the best interests of our customers
- Ability to work alone and cross functionally and able to adapt and react to continuous demand changes
- Performance driven individual and self-motivated
- Excellent communication, particularly of technical concepts with the ability to make the complex simple (verbal and written)
- Good influencing skills and have demonstrated skills in managing and building key relationships
- Decision making and judgement – The ability to exercise judgement and make decisions.
- Analytical Thinking – The ability to understand and draw conclusions from situations, problems and issues logically and systematically.
- Information Gathering – The ability to seek out relevant data from a range of sources to identify, analyse and interpret situations, issues and problems logically.
One qualification, one world – your passport to travel.
Mutual recognition agreements signed by various Actuarial Institutes have facilitated global trade in actuarial services. The convergence of worldwide accounting standards and increasing similarity of regulation means the required skills and knowledge are becoming more generic and it is easier and more attractive for actuaries to work internationally, giving them the opportunity to experience different cultures and ways of life with an ease not previously available.
An overseas transfer or a temporary job while traveling can enhance your resume, giving you broader experience, new challenges, variety, new contacts, and the opportunity to work in a different culture and enjoy the benefits of the lifestyle.