The most recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says actuarial employment is projected to grow 20% from 2018 to 2028 which is much faster than the average for all occupations. While BLS views the actuarial career path as a “small occupation”, this fast growth will result in 5,000 new jobs over the next 10 years. In addition to this significant growth, why should you consider an actuarial career?
Insurance companies have always been the primary industry of actuarial employment for risk management, the projection of future risks and the costs of covering that risk. Health insurance companies will require more actuaries to help evaluate the effects of changing healthcare regulations and guidelines, expand into new insurance markets and offer products to new customers. Companies outside of the insurance and health industries will need actuaries to manager their business risk. Actuaries help companies avoid, manage and respond to any potential financial risks across all areas of their business operations.
Merit Based Promotion
Successful completion of actuarial exams are prerequisites for actuarial employment and promotion. Entry-level actuaries usually have passed one or two exams along with their quantitative bachelor’s degree to gain employment. Once hired, employers will reward actuaries with salary increases, cash bonuses and promotions based on exams passed and professional designations achieved. Firms will often pay their employees to study for the exams and pay the fees associated with taking the exams. The passing standard on the exams is high, but this keeps the reputation of the profession high as well.
Actuaries made a median salary of $102,880 in 2018. Actuaries who work in financial services, mortgage lenders and brokerage firms see salaries above $150K. According to U.S. News the best-paid, top 25% of actuaries made a median of $141,760. All of those medians are expected to increase faster than the rate of inflation in 2020 and beyond.
While competition within actuarial employment is strong, committed, exam-passing actuaries rarely spend time unemployed. There are far more openings than there are candidates. That trend is changing though as the number of students sitting for actuarial exams has increased in the past few years. Entry-level candidates should not only have 2 to 3 exams already passed but have done an internship while in college to be the most marketable.
Interesting, Valued Work
As Krzysztof Ostaszewski, Actuarial Program Director, said, “I have never met a stupid FSA or FCAS.” You will work with bright, motivated people solving important and complicated problems. You will need to remain a life-long learner as new software, new applications and always, always new data become available.
The Society of Actuaries and the Casualty Actuarial Society create the exams and qualify candidates as they move through the exam process. They are educational and professional resources for anyone seeking actuarial employment. Professional societies so tightly integrated within a career path are atypical and incredibly useful to anyone in the career path.