Recently the actuarial profession has been seeing a lot of attention in the media, as the profession was just ranked 2013’s top U.S. job by CareerCast.com. The 200 jobs analyzed for the study were selected for their relevance in the current labor market, as well as the availability of reliable data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other government agencies. Some of the factors that CareerCast.com used to determine their rankings are:
- Degree of personal hazards
- Physical demands
- Income growth potential
- Employment outlook
- Contact with the public
Actuary was also recently featured in the Washington Post’s special section on the top STEM careers in an article titled, Actuaries In Action: Why It’s Rated The Number One Profession.
With the profession being consistently ranked high for decades this is all but too familiar news for most actuaries. However, with the recent reacquisition of the number one spot and the surge of media attention, the CAS is interested in understanding what impact it will have on the growth and popularity of the profession.
At the recent CAS Spring Meeting, the CAS welcomed 245 new Associates and 153 new Fellows. And the pipeline appears to be strong, as we hear of more colleges and universities who have started to offer actuarial programs and courses to appease the demands of students interested in studying actuarial science.
Does this suggest that we might be witnessing a new wave of growth within the profession, similar to the surge in interest when the dot.com bubble burst just as actuary was named the top job back in the 1990s?
How do you think the top job ranking and recent media coverage, in the context of the current economy, will impact the actuarial profession in the short term and long term?
Please leave a comment in the section below and tell us what you think.
You need to have internships and passed at least one if not two exams by the time you graduate to get an entry level positon. Entry into the actuarial profession is a lot more difficult than it was in recent years and you have to prepare early to land this comfortable job roll.
As tempting as it is to draw parallels between actuary re-attaining the top job rating with a resurgence in new Associates and Fellows, the average travel time to either designation is such that the influence of the job rating on individual career decisions would have had to have taken effect several years ago. What I suspect is much more likely is the staying power of the actuary within the top echelon of jobs in the published ratings has reinforced to members and candidates alike the perception of both opportunity and stability in the actuarial profession. To use a sports analogy, we may not have won the world series every year over the past 25 years, but we were nearly always in the league championship series and odds are we competed for the title in any given year.
At the time many in the current class of new Associates and Fellows were either choosing a career or debating whether to buckle down for those final Fellowship exams, the US economy was mired in a recession/sluggish recovery and unemployment was seemingly stuck at historically high levels. Wall Street firms were retracting offers to graduating seniors and the economic energy sources that traditionally fuel demand for top quantitative talent – IPOs, new debt issuance and M&A activity – were in scarce supply. To its credit, the actuarial profession has also maintained its relevance and perhaps increased awareness among potential actuaries through increased marketing and brand building activity over the past decade. This has surely helped, as has the renewed focus on risk in general and ironically the low yield environment facing insurers, who now find they have to be more disciplined in refreshing and maintaining their pricing parameters and models.
Bottom line – the actuarial profession will continue to be a career of choice for talented individuals and will likely continue to appear regularly among the top jobs. While I don’t foresee a huge “bubble” in the supply of actuaries, neither do I expect we will see a dramatic drop in candidates and new members as the economy recovers and competing career options resurface. We’ll be in the hunt for the trophy next season…and likely the season after that.