The results are in and there is overwhelming approval for The Actuary in the latest reader survey
In August 2012, The Actuary launched its first reader survey in over four years. Following a change in editorship, publisher and the provider of the website and complementary jobsite in the past year, it was important to gauge the views of members of the actuarial profession. We wanted to measure their responses to the redesign of both the print magazine, the website and the jobsite, and to gain an insight into their needs and interests.
The results offer a snapshot of readers' views, and the findings will help determine and shape the future direction of the magazine.
Who are you?
Over 600 respondents took part in the survey.
The profile of those who replied showed that 84.5% of respondents were UK-based, with 81% in manager/executive level positions.
The three main areas of employment were in the life (31.7%), pensions (25.3%), and general insurance (14.2%) sectors.
There was a 64.6% male to 35.4% female ratio. The highest age bracket for responses came from those between 26 and 35 years of age (42.1%).
More than half of the respondents had been receiving the magazine for more than six years.
We aim to please
The survey revealed that 96.4% of readers are satisfied or more than satisfied with the magazine, with engagement levels high; the magazine is read soon after arrival, and is kept for future reference.
A breakdown of the results highlighted how the magazine is perceived, with a considerable majority finding it useful (76.8%), and relevant (66%).
Just over 83% believed the content and their level of interest fell within the 'Good-Excellent' range.The Actuary also received a very positive response on its relevance (75.2%); and it was clear that the accuracy of the content is highly regarded, receiving a 91.6% approval rating.
When asked what they had achieved as a result of reading The Actuary, over 70% of readers felt they had improved their knowledge and understanding of the actuarial profession, with just below 50% adding that they were prompted to visit the Actuarial Profession's website.
Respondents were asked to comment on the redesign of the magazine and the website. The design and visual appeal of the magazine were commended, with 55% of readers agreeing that the magazine had improved as a result of the redesign.
Filling the gap
Readers were asked to rate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed that the magazine is meeting members' needs in its coverage of each of the specialist topics as outlined in the chart below.
While there is strong agreement that the magazine is catering to traditional needs, it is evident that there are also emerging areas of interest, such as investment, risk and environmental topics. The Actuary's aim is to act as a conduit for highlighting these developments within the profession.
Other constructive feedback from some of our readers included suggestions for the magazine to introduce more articles and interviews from actuaries working in non-traditional fields, and to cover a wider range of international roles and locations. There should also be a regular focus on international issues addressing and debating a wide range of topics from around the globe.
Additional suggestions were put forward for more soft skills and personal development articles.
The magazine is considered a valuable careers resource, with 70% of readers responding to a job advertisement placed in The Actuary - facilitating the transfer of actuarial expertise and opportunities around the globe.
A focus was also proposed on careers specifically for the student population, incorporating more articles on soft skills development and transferable skills. The Actuary has already started to implement these requests, and both of these areas will be developed throughout the course of the coming year.
When looking at the Appointments section, a large majority are just browsing, with others checking to see if their current package is competitive. Equally, there is general interest in seeing what key opportunities are available.
When seeking a new job, The Actuary was regarded overwhelmingly (95.8%) as the first port of call through a mix of both online and print advertising.
Readers were asked what prompted them to visit the website. Results showed that 73.5% saw the weekly email newsletter as the significant driver of traffic to the website, followed by a healthy 30.5% nudged by notices in the magazine.
The most compelling areas of interest for our readership include the news sections covering the Profession, industry and general insurance. There was also good engagement with the features online as well as the Jobs section. Both the student page and the puzzles pages were also highly sought after.
The chart to the left outlines the various sections throughout the magazine. Following the survey, we are preparing to make the arts pages more thought-provoking and representative of the cultural interests of actuaries.
There seemed to still be quite a low awareness of the social media offerings from The Actuary brand - such as The Actuary's LinkedIn group, and The Actuary's Twitter account. Although this has been significantly improving month on month, it would seem clear that there is still some work to be done in this area.
Lastly, when asked their overall impression of the magazine, 94.7% of readers rated The Actuary 'Good-Excellent'.
We would like to thank everyone who took time to complete the questionnaire.