Derek Cribb makes some very interesting observations in his article: Through The Actuarial Looking Glass
Derek Cribb makes some very interesting observations in his article: Through The Actuarial Looking Glass, The Actuary, March (bit.ly/21x1UoI). I share his concerns about promoting the actuarial skillset and getting actuaries into more diverse fields. I can't help thinking, though, that rather than trying to convince others of our 'extra-actuarial' worth, we should start by convincing ourselves of it.
Let's be honest - actuaries are lousy recruiters. A valuation actuary is great at assessing another valuation actuary's skillsets and experience, as is a pensions actuary able to assess another pensions actuary. But actuaries that are able to assess others that don't look and smell exactly like themselves are hard to find. Similarly, there's no point telling us we need to sell our softer skills to the wider world if we're no good at spotting them among ourselves. I, for one, am not surprised that the supremacy of 'traditional' skillsets perpetuates.
Not so long ago, I was interviewed for a job that said it required international experience (which I have in abundance). I thought that cultural skills, empathy, appreciation of the difficulties of non-native-English speakers deciphering the gobbledegook most of us speak, and so on, would be vital for the role. I asked the interviewer (who had no international experience) which aspects of international experience he considered the most important.
He replied: "It's not important at all... they have to do things our way". His reply astonished me and, needless to say, I didn't get the job. It's people like him we should work on first, not HR executives.
In another recent interview with an insurer, I was told that my wider business experience made me valuable and that my being an actuary was "an added bonus" - the fact that the interviewer even felt he had to separate the two is very telling.
Lee Faulkner FIA
29 March 2016