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When it comes to careers in actuarial consultancies, there are several misconceptions that can overshadow the true nature of the profession and lead to skewed perceptions.
Whilst some of the misconceptions we cover may be a reality at some firms (usually the larger, multinational companies), we work with many clients that are keenly aware of them and, more importantly, are actively seeking to change the narrative. Actuarial consultancy is evolving, and the businesses we work with are at the forefront of reshaping the industry’s dynamics.
In this blog, we will look at some of the top misconceptions that may be clouding your view of the actuarial consulting world, providing a clear understanding of the profession, and reveal some of the fulfilling and rewarding aspects, which often go unnoticed.
So, if you’re curious about whether actuarial consultancy might be the path for you, we will delve into the reality and explore the transformations taking place in this field.
When speaking to candidates, it’s often the idea that those working at actuarial consultancies are chained to their desks, working long, gruelling hours. What’s more, people usually believe that the consultancies expect this from employees, and think inflexible, unsociable hours is a given.
However, while the profession demands diligence, the idea of endless late nights is an expectation that very much arises from a level of exaggeration. Of course, that’s not to say that this isn’t the way some firms work, but they are certainly in the minority.
The clients that I work alongside have contracted hours to offer prospective employees structure, coupled with a healthy work-life balance.
Some believe that you can only scratch the surface when working for an actuarial consultancy, meaning that you won’t get to experience the work in depth because you’ll only see part of the process.
However, smaller consultancies offer the opportunity to be a part of the entire process. For example, one of my clients expects employees to work on three projects in the first three years but each one of those will be worked on from start to finish which can be extremely rewarding.
This brings us nicely to the next point…
Contrary to the misconception that working in actuarial consultancy stifles skill development, actuaries are constantly expanding their skill sets. They adapt to new technologies, regulations and client needs.
Many of my clients recognise the benefit to them of their employees becoming well-rounded actuaries that they can utilise for many different projects, therefore they are often passionate about helping people expand their skill set for the mutual benefits.
For example, if a Life Actuary moves to General Insurance (GI), the consultancy will recognise the skills they already possess, whilst building upon their GI knowledge and expertise.
Studying for actuarial exams is undoubtedly challenging, but the misconception that you must fight for study hours can be misleading.
Although some of the bigger consultancies may tell staff they’re too busy to take study hours, many firms actively support their actuaries in exam preparation. This can come by way of providing study time and resources to ensure success.
While some actuaries that work within a consultancy setting do travel for client meetings, it’s not a constant reality for everyone. Many consultancies offer flexible working arrangements, specifically since Covid-19, and all of my consultancy clients offer remote working.
Firms are being a lot more strategic when it comes to where their clients are based, aligning them with the closest member of the team. This has helped them to become more competitive to candidates that aren’t looking to travel too far.
Working in an actuarial consultancy is not synonymous with long hours, limited skill development, or constant travel. Actuaries can enjoy fulfilling careers that provide intellectual challenges and professional growth, alongside a balanced work-life dynamic.
But there isn’t a one size fits all approach and there will be companies that operate in the way we’ve spoken about in this blog. This is why it’s crucial that you choose the right consultancy that aligns with your career goals and values.
Candidates must be aware of their priorities and get the advice and expertise of a Recruitment Consultant that will be able to tailor their search to find exactly what they are looking for.
I work with many smaller consultancies who, not only go against the misconceptions listed above, but also have a range of benefits attractive to candidates.