Why actuaries love their job - Feature
16 Jan 2018

Actuaries Reveal: 5 Honest Reasons Why They Love Their Job

This is part of our ‘Actuaries Reveal’ series, where we spoke to over 20 actuaries and actuarial science graduates to find out the real deal behind the actuarial profession.

Do you love numbers and often find yourself unable to contain your love for mathematics? Do your friends label you a “number nerd” for your mathematical and statistical prowess? Love being intellectually stimulated and enjoy reading about fields such as business and economics?

Well, it’s time to put your genius to good use! If you haven’t considered a career in actuary, it’s high time you did. An actuary is a person who works in the field of actuarial science and uses statistics and probability to help companies manage financial risks in their businesses.

Curious to know more? We spoke to practising actuaries in Malaysia to find out what are some of the highlights about the profession. Here’s what they had to say.

Did You Know: Graduating with an Actuarial Science Degree does not make you a qualified actuary. To be a certified actuary, you will need to further your studies by taking professional exams. The process of becoming a certified actuary can be 3 to 7 years long.

#1. Solving real-world problems with data and statistics

This might be a nightmare for some of us, but for someone who has an analytical mindset and is passionate about decoding large sets of data, a career as an actuary could be a dream come true.

Actuaries use their knowledge and skills in statistical analysis to solve problems by managing risks in a variety of industries. 

Take the role of actuarial analysts in the insurance industry. They calculate how much an insurance company should charge for car insurance, for example, so that the insurer is able to cover the financial costs in the event of an accident, theft or damages. Similarly, investment actuaries analyse investments to determine the risk of an investment product to help companies avoid financial losses.

It’s the joy of solving problems that drive many of our respondents.

Why actuaries love their job - 1 Solving real-world problems with data and statistics 3

#2. The challenging and complex work

There’s no doubt that an actuary’s job is a challenging one. You’ll be required to work with numbers (which in itself is more than what many of us can do) and apply your knowledge to complex problems.

So what’s the good news?

The challenging nature of the job can be ideal if you thrive under pressure, enjoy working with Excel and love problem-solving! The job may also require you to have an understanding about other industries, which can keep you on your toes and stimulate you intellectually.

Why actuaries love their job - 2 The challenging and complex work 3

#3. It’s (not) all about the money

One of the greatest misconceptions people have about an actuarial career is that it’s a fast track to raking in the big bucks. But hold your horses! This isn’t immediately true.

While many of our respondents agreed that there are opportunities for career growth when you sit for your professional papers and rack up those actuarial credentials throughout your career, it may take a few years before you see a significant pay raise.

Nonetheless, having professional certifications under your belt may be worth the effort. You’ll not only stand a chance to earn more moolah when you work, but it could also be your ticket to working abroad as some of these professional qualifications are recognised internationally. 

Why actuaries love their job - 3 It’s (not) all about the money 3

#4. It involves so much more than numbers

Becoming an actuary involves more than just maths. In fact, one of the most valuable skills you will learn is the art of communication as over the course of your career, you will be presenting your ideas to professionals from other fields who may not be immediately receptive to your advice.

Many professionals who responded to us argued that their jobs don’t involve as much maths as they do statistics. They’re also required to have a good grasp of other fields, including business, accounting and economics that are crucial to their work of minimising business risks.

Why actuaries love their job - 4 It involves so much more than numbers 3

#5. It’s a well-respected profession

Not only does becoming a professional actuary arm you with a prestigious and internationally recognised qualification, it is also a respected profession that plays a pivotal role in many organisations across different disciplines.

For example, in an insurance company, actuaries analyse the risks of potential beneficiaries to determine which insurance products to recommend to them. Businesses also rely on actuaries to evaluate the risks involved in implementing their business strategies to avoid investing in something that could ultimately backfire.

You might say that the success of a business venture lies in the hands of an actuary!

Why actuaries love their job - 5 It’s a well-respected profession 3

There’s no doubt that a career in actuarial science is both tough and demanding. However, if you love numbers and are up for a challenging career, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t aim for the stars and consider it as a future career. You’ll find that your desire to excel and work hard will come naturally for the things you love!

PS: A special thanks to the Actuarial Society of Malaysia for helping us out with this article!

Thinking long and hard about actuarial science? Here’s everything you need to know about an Actuarial Science Degree.

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