The Top Skills Employers Want When Hiring Actuaries

As the job market continues to evolve, offering new opportunities, SKL founder and managing director, Jas Singh checks in at 2024’s midyear point to share the skills and attributes that actuarial employers are prioritising in their hiring process.

From the development of powerful artificial technologies to surviving global climate catastrophes, the actuarial industry is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the changing world around us. For actuaries, this means adapting your skills to maintain a competitive edge. 

Employers are now looking for actuaries with a range of skills that extend far beyond technical proficiency. If you want to impress during the hiring process, here are some areas to brush up on. 

Programming experience

When it comes to hiring analysts, the ability to expertly use technology for predictive analytics and risk assessment is non-negotiable. Analysts are now expected to be adept in programming languages relevant to data analysis and modelling, such as Python, R, or other specialised software.

The ability to leverage this technology in this way is incredibly valuable to employers, as it can be used to streamline processes and extract meaningful insights from vast datasets. 

Effective communication skills

As an actuary, you will likely collaborate with a wide range of people, from C-suite executives and lawyers to company stakeholders and analysts. To successfully work with these teams of people, actuaries must be able to convey complex findings and data into easily understandable terms.

Whether presenting technical analyses to management or collaborating with cross-functional teams, a great actuary can walk the tightrope between technical jargon and layman’s terms to ensure that everyone is on the same page. 

Soft skills

Actuaries are highly valued for their technical skills, but now more than ever employers are also looking for staff who can demonstrate a range of soft skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking, and adaptability. Amidst all the number crunching and programming, actuaries are often tasked with tackling ambiguous problems that require creative solutions.  

This ability to think outside the box and adapt to changing circumstances is essential in the fast-paced world of risk management and highly valuable to employers. Having a calm, unassuming presence is another important skill, as is the ability to not overthink things.  

It’s common for actuaries to be very hard on themselves and sometimes miss the point in the practical world so it’s important to do your best to demonstrate a practical and curious nature. The key is to listen, show a willingness to collaborate on ideas, and let your natural intelligence shine through in the moment. 

Academic excellence

For some employers, excellent academic records remain an important aspect of the hiring process. This is particularly the case for analyst or senior analyst positions, where experience and formal education are highly valued.

However, these factors are not the be-all and end-all. Strong academic performance may open doors, but it’s the practical application of knowledge and skills that truly sets actuaries apart in the workplace. While you may not be able to change or improve your academic efforts, improving your practical knowledge and skills is a great way to stand out to a hiring manager. 

Leadership and management abilities

As actuaries progress to managerial roles, employers expect them to demonstrate leadership qualities and the ability to manage teams effectively.

While maintaining a technical edge, senior actuaries are also responsible for mentoring junior staff and guiding them through complex projects. The capacity to inspire and motivate teams, coupled with sound decision-making skills, is essential for success in senior managerial positions. 

Strategic thinking and stakeholder management

At the senior management level, actuaries are entrusted with aligning team objectives with broader organisational goals. This entails not only strategic thinking but also expert stakeholder management.

Actuaries must be able to communicate technical insights to executives and policymakers in a way that resonates with their priorities and constraints. Effectively conveying key findings to busy stakeholders is integral to succeeding as a senior manager, as it shows that you can manage relationships and adapt your processes to achieve great results. 

Enthusiasm, energy, and drive

Above all, employers value actuaries who exhibit unwavering enthusiasm, energy, and drive towards their work and team.

In a field that demands resilience and perseverance, passion can be the differentiator between good and exceptional performance. Actuaries who approach challenges with enthusiasm inspire confidence and foster a culture of innovation within their organisations, and this is invaluable to an employer looking to hire the best team possible. 

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