In Australia, the number of qualified actuaries is 2,283*. A newly qualified Fellow can expect to earn around $100,000 per year and incomes rise quickly. Senior actuaries can easily earn $250,000 a year.
Actuaries are in demand and well-rewarded for their analytical and problem solving skills in a growing number of industries. No longer restricted to the finance and insurance industries, opportunities for actuaries are opening up in diverse areas such as health, education, energy and environment, public infrastructure and genetics.
Major areas of demand and interest include:
The contribution of the actuarial profession is a growing feature of the general insurance industry. The analytical and statistical training actuaries undertake, enables them to assess the impact of changing conditions on the financial viability of general insurance products and the reserves required to be held for future claims – be it for fire, flood, accident, motor vehicles or workers' compensation.
The actuarial profession has its foundations in life insurance and in spite of diversification into other areas, over 25% of Australian actuaries currently work in the industry.
Apart from traditional roles including determining premium scales, policy design, risk assessment, profitability testing and allocation of surplus, actuaries can be found in many other aspects of life insurance including general management, market strategy, corporate and computer systems development, staff training and supervision, and other financial control functions.
Reporting on the financial stability of a Life Insurance Company is the statutory responsibility of an Appointed Actuary.
Nearly 20% of actuaries in Australia work on matters related to superannuation. Now a compulsory component of every Australian employment package, superannuation has become a major avenue for national savings and retirement income.
Through the construction and application of mathematical models, actuaries are able to project financial outcomes from a range of input variables, and are involved in designing and administering superannuation funds and other employee benefit schemes that meet the needs of industry groups, employers, employees and individuals.
Positions range from executive management through to administration, technical actuarial tasks and consulting. Many actuaries work closely with superannuation fund trustees, providing regular advice and guidance and are frequently required to comment on the impact of proposed changes in government legislation and taxation on superannuation.
The economic interdependence of nations today and the need to make sound investment decisions have focused attention on the value of actuarial advice.
By virtue of their experience in analysing financial transactions and assessing risks, actuaries are increasingly sought after for a wide range of technical and management roles in the investment and financial services sectors.
There is growing demand for actuarial services in health insurance, risk management and the financial services industry and an increasing number of banks, insurance brokers, stockbrokers and other financial services companies are employing actuaries.
The Australian Federal Government currently employs a Government Actuary and Deputy Commissioner (Life Insurance) and a number of actuaries as support staff for both these positions, and State Governments also employ actuaries to supervise the management of their superannuation and health insurance funds and provide other actuarial advice as required.
Challenging careers in university education, computer software and management consultancy have also attracted a number of actuaries and as large corporations adjust to current market conditions, the need for actuaries in the development of long-term strategic plans is growing.
As we move towards an increasingly globalised society, greater numbers of actuaries are working in non-traditional areas, such as:
- the environment;
- information technology;
- telecommunications; and
- public infrastructure.
* as at January 2014.