Comparing actuarial salaries globally isn’t all about cost of living. What does our nearest neighbor, Canada, offer for actuarial careers? Did you know the best actuarial education could be outside of the U.S? Actuarial careers are global and here are some interesting comparisons.
Salaries are, of course, impacted by the supply and demand equation – the higher the demand and the shorter the supply, the higher salaries will go. Particular backgrounds or experiences are valued higher than others, and corporate governance experience, with new standards being continually implemented, seems to always be hard to find and when found, rewarded by increased compensation.
At the entry level Switzerland has the highest compensation at $95K, followed by the U.S. at $84K, Japan and Australia at $78K, and Germany and Belgium at $76K according to Atlas Magazine, “Insurance News Around the World.”
Atlas Magazine says Switzerland has the highest average salary as well but a study by Morgan McKinley puts Ireland in the lead at a whopping $204K. Morgan McKinley says Japan is next in average salary at $184K, then Switzerland at $195K and the U.S. at $172K.
Canadian Actuarial Careers
Canadian average salary compensation of $119K is far behind the U.S. average salary of $172K, but actuaries working in the major financial centers of Canada, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, do much better.
The Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) reports that 40% of their members work in life insurance, 40% in pension and retirement and a little more than 10% work in property and casualty insurance. The balance are employed in niche fields like enterprise risk management.
Chris Fievoli, Staff Actuary for the CIA, says “There’s a lot more demand for talent that is comfortable working with predictive analytics and big data. The one area where future growth prospects are a bit muted may be on the pension side, primarily because defined benefit pension plans have been in decline for a number of years.”
Global Actuarial Education
While the U.S. has more top universities for actuarial science than in any other country and our advanced curriculum better prepares students for licensing exams, there are international schools that offer interesting opportunities for actuarial careers.
The Catholic University of Leuven known as Ku Leuven in Belgium is one of the top universities worldwide. Interestingly it is one of the oldest having been established in the 1400s, but what makes it most relevant for competitive actuarial studies is its affordability at between $1000 and $10,000 in tuition per year.
The ISEG Lisbon School of Economics in the University of Lisbon, Portugal is one of only 5% of business schools worldwide to receive accreditations from both the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Association of MBAs. It also has hands-on training by the fourth semester and the lowest cost of living in Europe.
The University of Hong Kong received the VEE or Validation by Education Experience approval from the CIA, the SOA and the CAS. This means if you have completed your Actuarial Science degree with at least a B- average you can apply for VEE credit without having to pass the professional exams of these three societies. Hong Kong also has many career opportunities for actuaries due to it being a financial center and a commercial port.