ACTUARY VERSUS DATA SCIENCE

Link: https://www.oliverwyman.com/our-expertise/insights/2022/may/actuary-versus-data-science.html

Graphic:

Excerpt:

The number of candidates sitting for entry level exam P and exam FM decreased over the last decade. Figure 1 below shows the total attempts for Exams P and FM halving over the past decade.

This represents an average decline of 7% per year across the two exams. This shows a major change from 2013 when the Actuarial Profession was consistently ranked #1 in national job lists and the number of candidates sitting for exams was growing year over year. For reference, Actuary is currently ranked #20, behind software developer (#5) and data scientist (#6).

One hypothesis is that data scientists and similar job openings are drawing potential actuaries away from the profession. To investigate this question, we queried fifteen colleges, actuarial clubs, and their recent graduates to see if this trend was noticeable, with key learnings summarized below:

Candidates at schools with Society of Actuaries (SOA)’s Centers of Actuarial Excellence (CAE) recognition are more than twice as likely to remain on the actuarial career path. Further, the strongest programs appear to attract other majors due to the top-tier program and resources

Recently established data science majors are pulling some students away from actuarial science and quite a few interviewees perceived that the popularity of the actuarial science program is declining

For international students, there is a general perception that it is harder to get an actuarial job that provides working visa sponsorship, while most data science jobs still provide sponsorship

The mixed results between the first two findings suggest that the strongest college actuarial programs are becoming stronger while schools with fledgling or small programs may be struggling. For example, actuarial career fairs tend to be successful only after achieving a level of scale so that they are well attended by both prospective hires and recruiters.

Author(s): Eve Sun, Mark Spong, Roger Yuan

Publication Date: May 2022

Publication Site: Oliver Wyman

Ten Pearls of Wisdom for Navigating the Changes to the SOA’s Associate Level Exams

Link: https://blog.actexmadriver.com/ten-pearls-of-wisdom

Excerpt:

Do not put your career on hold. Continue to take (and hopefully pass) exams during the transition period.

Remember why you started taking actuarial exams in the first place. It was probably because you wanted to become an actuary or open doors to a variety of rewarding careers that combine business and the mathematical sciences. Unless your goals have changed, you should continue to take exams during the transition period. The SOA’s transition rules are usually very generous, so unless you repeatedly fail an exam that is being discontinued, you should not worry that the time spent studying for exams will be wasted.

Publication Date: 28 July 2021

Publication Site: Actex

The Society of Actuaries Announces ASA Curriculum Changes, Micro-Credentials and Affiliate Membership

Press release: https://www.soa.org/resources/announcements/press-releases/2021/2021-asa-changes-member/

FAQ: https://www.soa.org/education/general-info/asa-micro-credentials/

Pathway comparison, more info: https://www.soa.org/globalassets/assets/files/edu/asa-pathway-changes.pdf

Graphic:

Excerpt:

Beginning in January 2022, pre-ASA candidates will also be able to begin work to earn new micro-credentials that recognize and demonstrate to employers their knowledge and skills gained along the pathway to ASA. These “milestone markers” will remain with candidates if they decide to leave the ASA pathway and are also applicable for those choosing to enter the pathway to only earn one or more micro-credential. All elements required to earn these micro-credentials are part of the ASA pathway and count in full toward earning the ASA and FSA designations.

These micro-credentials group together pathway components that represent distinct knowledge and skills to demonstrate the level of achievement candidates earn to employers, co-workers and their professional network. AQ/EQ and data science skills are driving changes to the ASA curriculum and will be incorporated into requirements for each micro-credential, allowing candidates the ability to demonstrate and build on those skills for their resume and jobs.

These micro-credentials do not make candidates qualified or “signing” actuaries; that work is reserved for those who earn the ASA and FSA designations. However, they do provide critical marks of candidates’ progress through the system and signal to employers the knowledge they’ve gained. We will be conducting an outreach program to employers to build awareness and support for the micro-credentials over the coming months.

Author(s): SOA

Publication Date: 12 July 2021

Publication Site: Society of Actuaries

Positivity with Paul: Episode 5 | Mary Pat Campbell

Video description:

Welcome to another episode of Positivity with Paul, where I find Fellow Actuaries – pun intended – for a conversational Q&A on their life.  The focus is on their journey along the actuarial exam path and beyond, some of the challenges they faced, and how those challenges helped shape them to become who they are today.   

To give some brief context on becoming an Actuary, there’s a number of actuarial exams that one has to go through.  These exams are very rigorous and typically, only the top 40% pass at each sitting, They cover complex mathematical topics like statistics and financial modelling but also insurance, investments, regulatory and accounting.  Candidates can study up to 5 months per sitting and they will take 7 to 10 years on average to earn their Fellowship degree. To that end, I launched this series of podcasts because I was curious about what drove my guests to surmount trials and tribulations to get to the end goal of becoming an Actuary.    

My guest in this interview is Mary Pat Campbell. Mary Pat is an actuary working in Connecticut, investigating life insurance and annuity industry trends. She has been interested in exploring mortality trends, public finance and public pensions as an avocation. Some of these explorations can be found at her blog: stump.marypat.org. Mary Pat is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries and a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. She has been working in the life/annuity industry since 2003. She holds a master’s degree in math from New York University and undergraduate degrees in math and physics from North Carolina State University. In this podcast, Mary Pat discusses similarities in concepts between physics and actuarial science, the current low interest rate environment and lessons learnt in the insurance sector from the financial crisis in 2008-2009. Hope you enjoy this all-inclusive interview! Paul Kandola

Author(s): Paul Kandola

Publication Date: 11 June 2021

Publication Site: Integral Actuarial at YouTube