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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Your view: reader survey results

In February, The Actuary magazine and website unveiled a new look and feel. Initial feedback had been very favourable but we wanted to find out more about your reading habits and views. Exactly 600 people responded to our online survey in May and we would like to thank everyone who contributed.

The results offer a snapshot of readers’ views, and the findings will help to shape the direction of the magazine going forward. Those who completed the survey were also given the option to enter a prize draw and we would like to thank sponsor Elliott Bauer for providing the prizes.

Who, what, where…
A total of 70% of respondents were male, with the age range of survey participants slightly younger than that of the profession as a whole — 35% were aged 25-30 and nearly a third fell within the 31-40 category.

More than 75% of respondents were UKbased with other strong factions in South Africa, Ireland, India and Australia. The main areas of employment as expected were life, pensions and general insurance fields, with smaller percentages involved in the investment, banking and finance, and risk management domains.

Keeping up appearances
We asked respondents to comment on the redesign of the magazine and the website. Over half felt the print magazine was better than before, with 25% noting a significant improvement. The online site also saw a positive response, with 43% favouring the new design, and just under a quarter acknowledging a significant improvement.

More than 30% of those who replied visit the website on a monthly basis, prompted to a great extent by the e-mail alert. Over half saw this as the most effective reminder, followed by a healthy 32% nudged by notices in the magazine. The most compelling areas of interest for our readership include the sections covering the Profession, industry and educational news. Equally well-thumbed are the appointments, editorial, letters and features segments, as well as the student page.

Readers spend around 45 minutes with the magazine each month, while a valiant 4% spend over two hours, and in today’s environmentally conscious times, nearly one in five recycles their copy.

Constructive feedback from some of our readers included suggestions for the magazine to introduce articles and interviews from actuaries working in non-traditional fields. A career focus was also proposed specifically for the student population; others expressed interest in the creation of an e-discussion forum or interactive eforum to focus on current trends, contemporary issues and new ideas. There were a number of requests on giving the magazine a more international dimension, addressing and debating a wide range of topics from around the globe.

The Actuary has already started to implement some changes, based on the suggestions received. The website currently offers additional content and features, plus exclusive job listings. A quarter of respondents would like to see a careers advice service which is in development. Over 50% of survey participants were keen on a breaking news service on the website which is also planned for the future. More interactive elements such as audio and video content are being discussed.

Finally, those who requested a bigger font size and less text-heavy pages will have their wishes granted as of next issue. We are very grateful to all those who took part. Over a third of respondents said they would be willing to participate in future surveys. We welcome all contributions…so watch this space!

Prize draw winners
Five names were selected at random from those who entered and will each receive £100 Amazon vouchers, provided by sponsor Elliott Bauer. These names have not been published in order to protect their confidentiality.

Sponsor’s comment
As an actuarial headhunting consultancy driven by understanding our target market’s motivations and behavioural patterns, sponsoring this survey was important to Elliott Bauer.

The results relating to views on careers and recruitment indicate that the services of reputable actuarial search consultancies could be better used. Additionally, they show that the entire actuarial recruitment industry needs to educate people further on its role within the market while increasing service levels. Only a small percentage of the respondents found the service from search consultants to be ‘excellent’ and, although many found their current position through a recruitment consultant, having a prior relationship with a consultant was not seen as a significant factor when looking for a new job.

At Elliott Bauer, our history, knowledge of our clients and ability to create win-win strategies for both parties determines our success. Responses showed that any agency can call at the right time with a role but we encourage you to research those consultants prior to working with them. What sets some apart is the level of service offered and the ability to provide greater insight through the relationships formed.

As the actuarial job market is niche, it is important to maintain strong relationships in order to provide up-to-date market information throughout your career. Thank you for responding to the survey. We aim to adapt to your needs and market trends.