How do you secure a role, negotiate your salary, and grow your skills? A recent virtual insights session sought to answer these questions and more.
On 19 April 2023, SKL Actuarial in collaboration with the Young Actuaries Advisory Board (YAAB) provided an Insights Session to young actuaries about the job market. The session included a presentation on developing soft skills, tips on interviews, and how to negotiate your salary, as well as an opportunity for attendees to ask questions.
Soft skills enable you to communicate effectively and build rapport with those you work with. That’s why soft skills were identified in the Insights Session as being critical skills needed to be a great leader or manager. By developing skills around conflict resolution, providing feedback, thinking critically, making decisions with incomplete information, and being able to inspire and motivate, you can more effectively manage people and situations, and better step up into roles when required. Upskilling in technical areas should not be seen as coming at the expense of advancing soft skills as the session noted that both can be developed together and are often complementary.
For interviews, the panel explained the importance of coming prepared for each of the types of questions typically asked. For motivational questions (e.g., Why are you interested in the role?), you should consider the questions in the context of your long-term career objectives. For behavioural questions (e.g., Can you tell us about a time that you worked in a group environment?), look to tell a story about your experiences using the STAR method of outlining the Situation, Task, Action and the Result. Finally, for technical questions (e.g., How would you price commercial property insurance?) try to break down the answer into components, explaining what you know and working through the problem step by step.
Negotiating a salary can often be challenging, regardless of your experience level. In the Insights Session, SKL Actuarial identified that preparation is key to successful negotiations:
- Make sure to know the organisation’s pay review process (such as after exam passes or promotions).
- Prepare your pitch with relevant evidence in the lead-up to these reviews by understanding the value you bring to the organisation and how your career plan fits into the value you can add going forward.
- Market salary information and knowledge of salary budgets can be helpful; however, these are unlikely to be the full story in an individual context.
- Throughout the process, stay positive and professional, and if knocked back, consider both non-monetary benefits and the timeline of when potential future pay rises may occur.
Overall, the insights session gave great value to the young actuaries in attendance, and we are grateful to SKL Actuarial for providing their expertise on these topics. The presentation is available on the Past Events page of the Actuaries Institute site.
The Young Actuaries Advisory Board (YAAB) and YAP committees in each state have many events throughout the year that are targeted at building the knowledge and networks of young actuaries. Young members are those under 35 or with less than 15 years’ experience in the profession, so if that is you, we would love to have you involved. See the Actuaries Institute Calendar for upcoming events and join the Young Actuaries group on LinkedIn to hear about these and other opportunities for young actuaries.
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