Supply chain management: Where are the actuaries of the future?
AAE Board member – Chairperson Communications Panel
Astronaut, nurse, firefighter… actuary? It may not be high on the list of childhood dreams, but for young people with talent in mathematics, a career as an actuary has a great deal to offer. However, it’s becoming increasingly clear that we need to work harder to get that message out.
For several years now, the Actuarial Association of Europe (AAE) has been gathering data to identify and monitor risks, and the issue of there being an adequate “supply” of new actuaries to meet changing professional demand is always in mind. Even though our membership is constantly on the increase, given that we expect actuaries to gain significance in more and more fields, continued growth is important. This naturally leads to related matters, namely: The risk of the actuarial profession becoming less appealing to career starters, experiencing shortages of necessary competencies, and losing relevance.
Should we be worrying about this? The AAE surveyed its national member associations to find out, asking them to rate the attractiveness of the actuarial profession as a career choice – and the results were not reassuring! Respondents were clear that they see a downward trend, giving the profession an average rating of 73% attractiveness ten years ago, down to a projected 69% in five years’ time. It is also worth noting that smaller associations were the most pessimistic, reporting a faster fall in attractiveness.
We also asked respondents which factors most strongly influenced the decision to choose an actuarial career and the most popular answer, chosen by 38% of those surveyed, was expected salary and prospects; 24% were motivated by diverse job opportunities; 14% appreciated the general standing of the profession; 24% had different individual motivations and chose “other”.
There is no doubt that there is work to do here – and we can all contribute. Against the background of reports of declining numbers of candidates to sit actuarial exams, the Presidents of the AAE member associations convened to exchange notes about their own experience and strategies in terms of recruiting new young actuaries. Education is a key touchpoint: partnerships with educational institutions create opportunities to raise awareness about actuarial careers; at the same time, emphasising how our field is relevant to hot topics like inflation, sustainability and climate can refresh dated stereotypes about what we do. It’s also important that we go to where the young people are, being visible and prestigious on social media. Networking and new approaches are promising avenues to explore.
The category of “young actuaries” – and everything associated with the attractiveness of the actuarial profession – is a priority for the AAE. As actuaries, how can we reach potential career starters? How can we support our member associations to engage young people to become young actuaries?
The most important outcome so far is that, while there is no easy answer, the AAE will continue to promote regular exchange and dialogue among our member associations, and to act as a forum for sharing goal-oriented strategies and activities.
This blog is written on a personal title with the assistance of Yestrans.
17 April 2023