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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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Changing jobs

In December 2001 my company conducted a survey, involving more than 400 actuarial professionals from pensions, general insurance, and investment backgrounds, to identify:
– the current jobs market;
– what considerations affect the decision to change jobs; and
– the most important values when individuals are considering changing employers.
There is no denying the number of vacancies across the industry for individuals who have more than three years’ hands-on experience, or the excellent positions for the newly qualified and more experienced candidate. However, if you are considering changing employers you will need to put time aside to research the market and prepare your application.

Need some help?
If you are thinking of changing jobs, an informal meeting or telephone call with a competent recruitment specialist can provide you with a sounding board to identify your specific requirements. If you do decide to proceed in securing a new position, your consultant will provide you with guidance through this complex journey.
Make sure that your consultant has an in-depth knowledge of the actuarial profession, and will be happy to speak with you outside of working hours. You are trusting this person with your career, so do ask questions to ensure that you are comfortable with their abilities and professionalism. Identify their client portfolio, making sure they have broad exposure to larger, as well as smaller employers. It is quite usual for a consultant to visit client premises to gain a complete understanding of the company culture and business strategy, so find out who they would recommend.
Your consultant will want to identify your skills and experience, including your working history, ambitions, and motivations, as well as establishing any areas of weakness, or specific parts of your work that you do not enjoy. This will enable a comprehensive and easy-to-read curriculum vitae to be drafted. It is also quite usual for a prospective employer to ask the consultant to provide not only a working history, but also some personal details. These may include disposition, personal circumstance, salary aspirations, and your ability to establish and build both client and team relationships. The consultant, in theory, conducts the preliminary interview, so you must trust their ability to represent you. Any approach to a company must be made with your authority and strictly in confidence.

The interview
Preparation for an interview will be fundamental to your performance at the meeting. Do make sure you know exactly who will be conducting the interview and what format the meeting will take. Imagine finding out when you arrive that you are expected to give a ten-minute presentation to the global chief actuary!
Interview feedback can be very useful. You may have been rejected from a position which you felt was ideal for you, or realise that you have been a little hasty and would prefer to remain with your current employer. The consultant will liaise between both parties to establish the position and provide an explanation of the circumstances.

The offer
When an offer of employment is made, the consultant will identify that the remuneration package and benefits meet your requirements, and will highlight less obvious areas to consider, including the salary review date, bonus structure, and pension benefits.

Long-term relationship
At the conclusion of this process you will have established a thorough working relationship with your consultant, which could be useful when you are looking to recruit for your own team! And should your career aspirations change, your consultant will already have an appreciation of your background and be able to ascertain the market position and its relevance to you. o
Pip Sanford is the manager of the actuarial division at the Sammons Group

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