Lessons from the Joint YAP NSW & AGRA discussion

What experience can a retired actuary share with the upcoming generation? And if they had the opportunity, what experiences and challenges would they share with their young self beginning their career?

The Young Actuaries Program NSW (YAP NSW) and the Australian Group of Retired Actuaries (AGRA) had a joint session in late 2022 to do just that. The virtual session opened with a discussion of the changes in technology and means of networking over time before the conversation turned towards commonalities across the generations. Interestingly, the retired actuaries noted the value consistently provided by the core actuarial skillset, especially in a time where data is more plentiful and more complex techniques are available.

(Actuarial department of T&G Mutual in 1970. Photo supplied by Graham Slater.)

A key message was to ensure that actuaries maintain a clear line of sight of who the end client is and how our work is adding value to society. Whether it is working for a corporation, mutual, consultant, or government organisation, competing priorities will always be an imposing risk and can impact the end client if they are forgotten in the day-to-day. This isn’t anything new revealed the retired actuaries – as even in the past regardless of the organisational structures or slogans suggested – the risk of forgetting who the end client was a potential risk.

By adding value to society and to our employers, the retired actuaries shared that perhaps the best advice through major global crises and upheaval is don’t panic.

The retired actuaries shared that instead of panicking, we should reach out to others in our organisations to seek additional viewpoints and advice so we can form a more rounded perspective on the issue. And while we may not have seen events unfolding, other perspectives – even historical ones – can guide a path forward.

Looking to the future, retired actuaries have confidence in the way that the actuarial profession is advancing, especially with the guidance of the constitution and strategy of the Actuaries Institute as they have shaped the profession to adapt to past challenges and have allowed the profession to become more diverse and inclusive than the past.

While society may not view actuaries as the analytical “gods” that some may have in the past, the way we work to use data for good and the value this provides does endure.

Speaking of individual careers, the key piece of advice is to focus on what we want to achieve as individuals and set goals to reflect this. Our career paths and objectives are unique, so our goals should reflect this. Regardless of whether it is a 15-year goal, or a 12-month goal, they will guide us along the path that we should take.  In our current work, we should strive to do the best that we can and effectively manage the relationships in all directions of the organisation hierarchy. This includes being visible and involved so that many opportunities can present themselves.

Both the Young Actuaries Program NSW (YAP NSW) and the Australian Group of Retired Actuaries (AGRA) will be hosting regular events for Members in 2023.  Events for YAP members are included in the Actuaries Institute Events calendar and weekly Bulletin, while details of AGRA events can be found by reaching out to the Actuaries Institute directly. We hope to see you there!

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