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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Actuary is fourth most misunderstood job

The role of an actuary has been identified as the fourth most misunderstood job in the UK as revealed by LinkedIn.


A child doing homework © Shutterstock
“Parents can be a valuable part of their child's career, and an important source of advice and guidance," said LinkedIn. © Shutterstock

The online professional network published the findings today to mark its third annual ‘Bring Your Parents Day’, which saw professionals across the UK invite their parents into the workplace to give them an inside view of their working life. 

In the survey, one in three parents admitted to being clueless about what their offspring did for a living.

LinkedIn said the ranking was based on the percentage of people who were not confident in describing a range of careers correctly, with 68% respondents citing the actuarial profession among them.

IFoA’s president Fiona Morrison said: “We often describe ourselves as experts in long term financial risk, using our mathematical skills to calculate the risk and probability of future events. We also take complex information and communicate it to the lay person in a way they’ll understand. This combination of risk calculations and communication of results is at the heart of what actuaries do."

To explain what actuaries do, the IFoA has recently launched a #whatactuariesdo Twitter campaign

“We are hoping to get people engaged with the profession though the campaign, and the winners of a contest for best ‘tweet’ as chosen by council will be announced very soon,” Morrison said.

Based on responses from more than 2,026 people, of which 1,071 were parents of workers, the survey revealed a user interface (UI) designer had the least clear role, with 86% of people not providing a correct definition of the profession.

Data scientist was ranked second as cited by 76% of people, followed by social media manager (71%).

Other professions that made the top 10 included sub-editor (66%), sociologist (62%) and radio producer (58%). 

By contrast, traditional careers were rated best for avoiding confusion, with teachers having the lowest percentage of people not knowing what the job entailed, at 20%.

Firefighters (28%) and architects (28%) were also among the best understood professions.

Top 10 most misunderstood jobs with percentage of respondents who were not confident about describing them correctly:

1.     UI designer (86%)

2.     Data scientist (76%)

3.     Social media manager (71%)

4.     Actuary (68%)

5.     Sub-editor (66%)

6.     Sociologist (62%)

7.     Radio producer (58%)

8.     PR manager (57%)

9.     Investment banker (55%)

10.   Fashion designer (51%)

LinkedIn’s corporate communications senior manager Darain Faraz said: “Parents can be a valuable part of their child’s career, and an important source of advice and guidance. 

“Our research shows that almost half of parents have an opinion on their child’s work situation but often hold back because they don’t fully understand what they do for a living.”