Actuaries take great pride in understanding a problem’s context. In our mastery of data, we always come back to the bedrock that has shaped us since we began: professional integrity. While we’re sure of the value we bring to the table, we haven’t always succeeded at sharing that value with people outside our profession.
When we are clear on our impact, others will better understand what we do, and how we contribute. Students will see all that they can accomplish and will be inspired to practice as actuaries. Clients will feel compelled to seek our advice. As we strengthen how our profession is perceived and understood, we will unlock more opportunities to solve the most pressing problems that face organisations, industries, and our society today.
We will unlock opportunities to broaden our reach and do more good.
As actuaries, we practice in such diverse fields that we need a statement of purpose to draw us together. Whether we’re shaping strategy, valuing assets, designing better data models, or advising on government benefits, we need one strong statement that stands for us all.
The Actuaries Institute embarked on rigorous research to uncover that statement of purpose, which we’re very proud to share with you now.
How we answered the question
We began by seeking to understand where we’ve come from. We reviewed previous efforts to explain the value of an actuary – in Australia and overseas. And with an international lens, we saw that the way our profession speaks about itself is often fragmented and overly specific. When actuaries describe what they do in different ways, we create interference: our voices conflict and cancel each other out.
We need a single unifying statement that’s memorable enough for actuaries to take up and own. A clear statement of purpose to the people we serve.
So we reached out. We interviewed actuaries from across our membership to hear the benefits individual actuaries bring. We talked to people at the interface between actuarial practices and other disciplines. We tapped into online analytics, from job ads to website searches, to capture broader conversations about actuaries. We listened to the language and learned how a strong, clear, and succinct statement of value would help the profession.
“We would be making a stronger contribution to the business community as a whole… We would attract and retain the best talent and together, help solve the toughest challenges and greatest opportunities in business and society.”
– Actuaries Institute Board Member
Actuaries emphasised the importance of staying true to what has made our profession strong: the rigour of our approach, our unique ability to put data in context, and our many years of supporting financial services. At the same time, it became very clear that we must look to the future. The field of data science is attracting increasing interest. Actuaries need a way of demonstrating what sets us apart and explaining how our contributions shape emerging fields. In short, we need a galvanising statement of purpose with a message that stands for us all, and which all of us can get behind. Through our research, we arrived at one simple and succinct truth:
Actuaries use data for good.
We use data for good by harnessing the evidence to navigate uncertainty and make a positive impact. We think deeply about the problems and questions we face, whether it’s advising customers on commercial strategy, designing new products, transforming services, or tackling societal issues. As we’re called upon to give intelligent answers to complex problems, we look at the full picture, through sophisticated data analytical techniques. With this approach, we form the robust and outcome-centred advice for which we’re known.
Because actuaries use data for good, we guide the people we advise towards the better future they desire: one that’s fairer and more financially sustainable.
“Actuaries use data and an evidence-based approach to decision making. And we use that for the public benefit.”
– Actuary working in public policy
How do you use data for good?
Through our research, we identified three key professional domains in which actuaries excel. Some actuaries work brilliantly across all three domains. Others have a clear preference at this stage in their career and become niche specialists.
We’ve mapped these domains as:
- C-Suite: offering strategic advisory across the breadth of a company’s operations.
- Actuarial Data Lab: bringing commercial acumen and technical mastery to a specific industry.
- Public Policy: contributing to crucial conversations on our society’s values and future.
As actuaries, we’re driven by a desire to make a positive impact. We anticipate how the future may look in an uncertain world. In each of our professional domains, we use data for good. We always have.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be discussing more about this concept. We’re interested in learning how you use data for good in your work. Sharing the important value we offer as a profession will help broaden our reach. It will open personal professional opportunities. And it will deepen our impact on business and society.
We invite you to explore the messaging framework, ‘Actuaries use data for good’.
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