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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Professional prospects



What defines us as a profession? Is it our technical expertise, the high standards we hold ourselves to or the ability to apply our skills in a business setting? Perhaps it’s a combination of these or other factors. 

Whatever your view, the way we think about ourselves as a profession could change fundamentally in the future, according to research from Richard and Daniel Susskind. Marjorie Ngwenya reflects on how we will need to adapt as a profession in this changing world, suggesting that we will need to diversify and shift our focus from analysing data to providing more insight. She argues this will help differentiate us and give value and meaning to our role. 

This vision is shared by Anthony Fitzsimmons and Derek Atkins, who believe there is an opportunity for actuaries not only to analyse but also to interpret and communicate hard-to-quantify risks such as reputational damage. 

To make this shift, we could learn from experts such as Michael Sanders, an expert in behavioural insights who recently gave the IFoA Autumn Lecture. He explains to The Actuary this month how nudging is being used by governments to improve outcomes for the public. Communication will clearly be an ever-more-important ingredient in our skill set too. Jean Eu shares some tips on how we can all get our message across more effectively

To ensure we have a thriving profession in the future will require us to change not only what we do and how we communicate it but also who we are as a community. Improving diversity in our profession will be key to this. While gender pay gaps have recently highlighted that the business world has some way to go, our new ‘Big question’ feature asks how our profession can address this issue and achieve greater diversity in the process.

Richard Purcell

Editor, @richardpurcell