On Wednesday evening I attended a thought-provoking panel discussion on different aspects of Intergenerational Fairness, chaired by Paul Sweeting, and with Louise Pryor, Fiona Morrison and Peter Tompkins as panelists. The wide-ranging Q&A session was great.
One question that particularly stuck with me was from a newly qualified actuary within the Pensions specialism. He asked about the future for pensions actuaries, expressing his long-term career concern for those who have specialised in the pensions field, based on the challenging dynamics covered during the panel, including for example the shift from Defined Benefit to Defined Contribution, low savings rates, sustainability and regular rule changes.
The responses from the panelists covered:
I'm not quite so sure that career transitions for actuaries are that straightforward... A number of PROTAGION's members tell us they feel typecast in their specialism (Life, General, Pensions, Healthcare etc), especially as they get more post-qualification experience. In contrast, transitions for actuarial students are far more common. Are there enough role models like Louise to show that these changes are indeed possible for qualified actuaries?
I also worry that it's more limited for those qualifying more recently. If I think back to the breadth of Specialist Technical subjects I was required to complete (Life Insurance, General Insurance, Pensions and Investments), versus the opportunity for current students to choose two from an admittedly wider list, do today's qualifiers have sufficiently broad specialist understanding to be able to transition? They do have a good generalist asset and liability understanding from the Core Applications modules though.
I'm interested to hear your views too, including from:
- actuaries who've considered and/or made a transition
- recruiters who've helped qualifieds move between specialisms
- coaches who've guided these experienced professionals through the change