Are you a mathematically minded person and possess good analytical abilities?
Actuaries are professionals who perform mathematical, statistical, economic, and financial analyses to examine and reduce risk and ambiguity in different business environments. They use their specialized knowledge to help businesses develop the right corporate plan for growth and future investments.
To become an Actuary in Australia, you must complete an accredited Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Studies or a Bachelor of Actuarial Science. You have to also complete an Actuaries Institute Education Program to work as a qualified actuary.
Whether you are serious about becoming an actuary or just curious about the role, this article will tell you what it’s like to become an Actuary and how you can become one.
1. What Is An Actuary?
Actuaries are business professionals who measure and manage risk and uncertainty in a business to help maintain their financial health.
They carry out statistical analysis of bulk data based on trends and costing to decide whether an insurance product should be issued and at what premium. Based on their examination, they may even adjust premium rates and terms if needed.
2. Reasons to Study Actuary Qualification
Are you confused about whether an Actuary qualification will benefit you or not?
Here are the top reasons how studying for this versatile degree will boost your employment prospects:
A Bachelor’s in Actuarial Studies is an internationally recognized degree that lets you work in developed as well as developing economies.
An Actuarial qualification provides you with thorough learning of statistics, mathematics, demography, finance, analytics, and economics to help you develop the basic actuarial skillset.
The degree empowers you to work on big real-life issues for a multitude of sectors such as life insurance, general insurance, health insurance companies, financial institutions, and governments. You get the opportunity to help companies solve problems related to valuing and pricing their products and managing their risks. Thus, the skills you gain from this course enable you to take on a variety of roles in a wide range of business settings worldwide.
Pursuing an Actuarial degree is a great way to make a social contribution. With the skills you gain during the course, you can formulate effective retirement incomes policies to help the older people of society.
Qualified actuaries can help companies manage financial risks arising due to a broad array of social and economic factors such as natural disasters, death, ailment, disability, monetary and fiscal policy changes, unemployment, inflation, etc.
Being an Actuary, you get the privilege to join a network of highly regarded professionals and gain the support and fellowship of an elite group of peers throughout Australia and abroad.
3. Duties And Responsibilities Of An Actuary
A typical day of an actuary involves several challenging tasks such as:
Apply mathematical, economic, financial, and statistical analysis to business areas concerning insurance premiums, dividends, retirement funds, annuities, and pensions to evaluate risks and opportunities
Inspect and analyze statistics to identify risks and compute the likely financial consequences of such risks.
Prepare fiscal models, budget, financial reserves, and monetary projections for general insurance and life insurance firms, government organizations, banking, and loan lending institutions, etc.
Assess future likelihoods of events such as unemployment, economic trends, interest rate change, illness, etc. and specify premiums, probable return rates, and design new types of retirement and life insurance and policies for clients.
Ensure companies have adequate funds to reduce the impact of uncertainty, and risk.
Plan future investments based on the financial risk assessments of businesses
Advise potential buyers or sellers on profit distribution
4. What Skills Do You Need To Become An Actuary?
Every career requires some basic skills to perform the job, Actuary is no different.
To thrive in this demanding profession, the following skills are recommended:
Enjoy solving problems
An eye for detail
Good Advising skills
Able to manage large data streams to determine trends
Expertise in regulatory issues, risk and compliance, and policymaking,
Superior Estimation, and Analytical skills
Strong written and verbal communication skills
Able to think logically and clearly
Good working knowledge of MS Excel
Able to work independently
Able to manage risks
Able to form data-based decisions
5. Relevant Qualifications To Become An Actuary In Australia?
Employers in Australia prefer job applicants who are qualified and have work experience to work in this role:
Senior Secondary Certificate of Education in English and Mathematics
An undergraduate degree in actuarial science or statistical analysis such as a Bachelor of Actuarial Studies or a Bachelor of Actuarial Science.
Complete the “Part II and Part III syllabus” offered by the Actuaries Institute, the governing body for actuaries in Australia.
Aspiring actuaries must also complete the 3 -year practical experience and the professionalism course and gain fellowship of the institute to become a qualified associate actuary.
6. Steps To Become An Actuary In Australia
The roadmap to becoming a qualified actuary takes years of hard work, dedication, and continuous study.
The entire course work comprises 4 parts that we are going to look at here in detail:
Step 1: Complete The Part 1 or Foundation Program
The journey to pursuing an Actuary profession starts with studying an undergraduate actuarial degree i.e., a bachelor’s degree in actuarial studies.
The degree provides comprehensive knowledge on 8 basic subjects such as:
Probability & mathematical statistics
Finance & financial reporting
Step 2: Complete The Actuary Program
Once you qualify, the next step is to learn the practical implementation of the technical actuarial knowledge (for valuing, pricing, accountabilities, solvency measurement, etc.) to a broad array of real-time problems across various business settings.
The Actuary program provides a holistic view of principles and concepts involved in actuarial work and enables students to apply the skills in different types of businesses.
Thus, a student gets an outline of the actuarial work in the development and continued administration of a financial product, scheme, or enterprise.
There are a total of 4 subjects covered in the program. Two of which are taught by the below-mentioned universities:
Macquarie University, Sydney
University of Melbourne
Australian National University, Canberra
University of New South Wales, Sydney
The remaining two subjects are delivered online by the Actuaries Institute. The entire program comprises a series of training, management, and assessment that makes newly qualified actuaries ready to start their practice.
Those who have completed the Actuary program qualify for admission into the Actuaries Institute.
After, they can attend the online “Fellowship Program” and obtain the legal status of ‘actuary’ in Australia.
Step 3: Take up a Professionalism course
This is a 3-day residential seminar designed specifically for newly qualified actuaries.
It gives them a gist of being an actuary professional and learn the ethical and legal responsibilities associated with this profession.
Step 4: Gain The Experience
Along with the above qualifications, you also need to complete a minimum of 1 year of relevant practical experience approved by the Actuaries Institute.
Qualified actuaries who have an equivalent overseas qualification can get admission as an Accredited Member of the Actuaries Institute after staying in Australia for 6 months and attaining relevant work experience.
National bodies related to actuaries are:
7. Relevant Actuary Degree Courses In Australia
Bachelor of Actuarial Studies - UNSW
Studying actuary at UNSW prepares a student for quantitative roles in industries such as insurance, retirement planning, and financial services.
The course helps them develop specialized quantitative skills in financial mathematics, actuarial models, machine learning, Artificial Intelligence analytics, probability, and commerce.
The course is designed by industry experts to ensure that the knowledge, experience, and skills, gained are relevant, and in demand.
Internship and networking opportunities and the ability to choose the area of specialization, help students advance professionally and diversify their careers in various fields such as finance, investment banking, government, consulting, insurance, and superannuation.
A Bachelor’s Degree in Actuarial Science
Monash University conducts 3 years accredited full-time Bachelor of Actuarial Science course that equips you with the required analytical and technical skills to evaluate, recognize, and manage risk from financial perspectives.
Students gain foundation-level knowledge of finance, economic statistics, macroeconomics, corporate finance, microeconomics, debt markets, financial accounting, and fixed incomes securities, including ways to implement mathematical concepts in real-life cases.
8. How Long Does It Take To Become An Actuary In Australia?
The process of becoming a qualified Actuary in Australia requires a combination of a Bachelor of Actuary Studies (4 years), practical experience (3 years), and professional examinations.
It may take 7 years or more to start working as an Actuary in Australia.
9. Work Conditions For Actuaries
Full-time actuaries usually work traditional hours of 42 hours per week which is comparable to the industry’s average of 44 hours.
They may need to work overtime to meet strict deadlines.
Actuary mainly works in an office environment spending most of the time working indoors in a comfortable setting. While at work, actuaries mostly work with people in a team.
Most actuaries work for insurance firms. Some financial service providers have dedicated actuarial departments that administer investment risks.
Nature of Employment
Based on Job Outlook, around 79% of actuaries in Australia work full-time which is higher than the industry’s average of 66%.
This shows that the profession is ideal for those who are seeking a full-time position in the industry.
The average age of Actuaries employed in Australia is 37 years compared to the industry’s average of 40 years.
A good percentage of females i.e., 43% work in this profession. This shows the profession presents favorable work opportunities for both male and female candidates.
10. Employment Opportunities For An Actuary In Australia
Actuary courses In Australia are globally relevant and enable a qualified actuary to work in developing and developed economies throughout the globe. Actuaries are generally employed as consultants or executives in financial institutions assisting different organizations.
Financial and Insurance Services (Banks, Fund Management, Superannuation Insurance, Investments), Government, Scientific and Technical Services, and Academic and Training are the top three conventional industries that recruit Actuaries regularly.
11. Job Prospects For Actuaries In Australia
This is a small profession that employs highly skilled professionals. The number of workers rose strongly over the last five years with around 9,800 actuaries working in 2020. The government expects moderate and steady future growth in this sector.
Besides working as an actuary, professionals can use their skill set in various other professions as well such as life insurance, general insurance, health insurance, superannuation policies, and more.
12. How Much Does An Actuary Earn In Australia?
According to Indeed data, the average actuary salary in Australia is $107,640 per year.
The average weekly and hourly actuary salary in Australia is $1,969 and $71.18per hour respectively.
Highest paying Australian cities for Actuaries are:
Brisbane QLD: $109 per hour
Melbourne VIC: $88.05 per hour
Sydney NSW: $66.39 per hour
Canberra ACT: $56.99 per hour
Surry Hills NSW: $54.50 per hour
Actuary Salary Based on Experience:
Based on PayScale data, an entry-level Actuary salary (< 1-year experience): AU$71,818 per year.
An early career Actuary salary (1 to 4 years of experience): AU$85,000 per year.
A mid-career Actuary salary (5 to 9 years of experience): AU$119,832 in a year.
An experienced Actuary salary (10 to 19 years of experience): AU$118,704 in a year.
Actuarial science is among the highly challenging and rewarding careers throughout the globe. Becoming an Actuary requires several years of learning. However, the effort you put in will be well worth it in the end.
Aspiring actuaries should know that actuarial science qualifications open the doorway to career opportunities in the finance, banking, and mathematics industries.
Considering the continuous technological growth, they must have a passion for a lifetime of learning to succeed and endure in this profession.
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