Actuarial recruitment needs a name change. Here’s why.
By SKL Actuarial
As demand for actuaries hits an all-time high, specialist recruiters have evolved to offer so much more than their name suggests.
Please note: This piece is written by SKL Actuarial and published by the Actuaries Institute Australia. The articles aim to stimulate discussion on important, emerging issues related to ICA2023. Opinions expressed in this publication are the opinions of the articles' author and do not represent those of either the Actuaries Institute Australia, the International Actuarial Association or the 2023 International Congress of Actuaries Organising Committee, or its members, directors, officers, employees, agents, or that of the employers of the authors.
Going by its name alone, you’d be forgiven for thinking actuarial recruitment is a one-trick pony, solely focused on finding talent and filling roles.
After all, the term ‘recruitment’, is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as ‘the action of finding new people to join an organisation or support a cause.’
In reality, as the actuarial sector has flourished, so too have specialist recruitment agencies employing consultants with a deep understanding of the field.
Generalist headhunters, even insurance specialists, rarely have the niche industry knowledge required to truly understand specific actuarial roles or identify the most promising resumes.
So, as the sector has experienced unprecedented growth, organisations are asking for more. There is now a demand for recruiters who understand the difference between stochastic modeling and deterministic modeling or the benefits of R versus excel.
Specialist actuarial headhunters are meeting this demand and delivering even more. Since they have a deep understanding of the industry, they’re able to partner with both individuals and organisations to create strategic, long-term plans.
Equipped with a solid understanding of the industry, actuarial recruiters are developing genuine, career-long relationships with talented candidates.
At SKL Actuarial, I regularly see our consultants sharing interview preparation tips and career progression advice with candidates. They’re a trusted sounding board for possible career moves, know which skills are transferable across sectors, and can make informed recommendations for strategic professional development and effective personal branding.
Since they maintain regular contact with both active and passive jobseekers, they can organically match individuals with roles as they become available.
Actuarial headhunters are also working closely alongside organisations to identify critical gaps, forecast future demand, and create strategic talent maps.
With the industry evolving so rapidly, they’re a valuable source of cutting-edge market insights, including shifting remuneration expectations, allowing clients and candidates to stay at the forefront of any developments.
This strategic talent support is critical in the current labour market which, although rife with opportunities, will bring significant challenges.
The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations predicts the Australian actuarial industry will grow by 11% from 2021 to 2026.
Already, actuaries are named on the Australian government’s Medium & Long Term Strategic Skills List - a register of the country’s most critical and in-demand jobs.
There’s a similar picture overseas. In the US, The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects demand for actuaries to increase by 21% from 2021 to 2031.
In the UK, actuaries are named on the government’s Shortage Occupation List, which notes that the profession is in high demand across England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
Supply simply cannot keep up. Of course, this is not new information. The insurance and financial sectors are already investing heavily in technology that can automate more of the work done by actuaries.
This is an essential piece of the puzzle. But future-proofing must involve far more than automation. It must also look to ensure critical soft-skills are embedded within an organisation.
Actuarial headhunters are not only identifying the hard skills required to succeed, but also soft skills that are indispensable in a modern workplace.
Leadership potential, problem-solving abilities, communication skills, self-management, stakeholder management, personal behaviour mindset - there are a whole raft of soft skills that are essential for successful, long-term actuarial placement.
Without support from specialist actuarial headhunters, organisations risk being hampered by talent shortages which, in turn, severely impact growth, morale and performance.
A golden opportunity
Clearly, actuarial recruitment specialists are offering far more than what many of us understand as ‘‘recruitment’. They’re carving out a niche for themselves as truly strategic business and career partners.
It’s for this reason that I think actuarial recruitment needs a name change. We have highly-skilled specialists collaborating with individuals and organisations so they can thrive today and succeed tomorrow.
And yet, some people don’t know they exist or underestimate them - partly because of a name that we associate with a more generalist profession.
How many talented actuaries don’t realise they can seek tailored career advice from a like-minded industry professional? How many team leaders don’t realise they can engage strategic talent specialists to assist with future-proofing?
As we enter what could very well be the golden era for actuaries, collaborating with specialist actuarial recruiters will not only protect and strengthen organisations but also accelerate careers.
So, we are officially open to suggestions. Is there a name that better communicates what actuarial recruiters are offering? If so, it’s time we start using it. Otherwise, the entire industry risks missing out on transformative support.
Explore more at SKL Actuarial.