Actuary Employment, Earnings and Outlook

Back in 2008 there were approximately 19,700 jobs held by actuaries. Around 55% of all the actuaries were employed in the insurance industry. Furthermore, around 16% of actuaries worked for technical and scientific consulting services or management. Other actuaries had worked for brokers and insurance agents as well as in enterprises and management industries. Governmental agencies also employ small numbers of actuaries as well.


In May of the same year the annual salary median was almost $85,000. The middle 50% earned in the range of $62,000-$120,000 approximately. The lowest 10% had wages under $50,000 and the top 10% had earnings of almost $161,000 or higher. In July of 2009, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the annual stating salary for the bachelor’s degree graduate in actuarial sciences averaged approximately $56,000.

Job Outlook

For all of the occupations employment is expected to grow at a much faster than average rate. Job competition is something that’s going to be as keen as the number of qualified candidates is expected to go over the number of available positions as many more people are looking to get into this field.

Changes in Employment

Actuarial employment is expected to go through a total of 21% increase in the 10-year period of 2008-2018. This is a number that’s much higher than the average for other job occupations. The largest industry of actuary employment is the insurance industry and will experience some of that growth; however, the greatest job growth is going to occur within other industries, such as, consulting and financial services.

Although there is some slower than average growth within the insurance industry, the employment levels within this core sector are still expected to add jobs within this projection period due to the need for actuaries to:

  • Price
  • Develop
  • Evaluate

They’ll be needed to do these things through many different insurance products and then process cost calculations of the new risks.

Property and casualty insurance is still going to be required within areas like natural disasters, however, the growing popularity of things like annuities are also going to spur much demand. Annuities are a financial product that’s offered most often by the life insurance companies. Furthermore, there’s going to be further penetration into nontraditional areas by actuaries, such as, the sector in financial services, with the aim of helping to price the corporate security offerings and more.

An additional level of increase will come from the consulting field as the increasing number of industries will need to make use of actuaries to evaluate perils. Finally, due to the increased managed healthcare company regulation and the drafting of healthcare legislation is going to spur growth in employment.

Potential Growth Offsets

Unfortunately there may be some offsetting of growth due to consolidation in the insurance industry and corporate downsizing, the largest actuary employer. For example, life insurance companies are anticipated to increasingly shed their higher level actuarial positions as their companies are merging and they’re working to streamline their operations. There will additionally be declining demand for the pension actuaries. The reason for this is due in most par to the declined of the defined benefit plans, which required an actuary to review them, in favor for the investment based retirement funds, such as, the 401k plans.

Job Prospects

Since the numbers of job openings are expected to be less than the number of qualified applications, the job seekers will likely face some competition for those jobs. The college graduate that’s completed an internship as well as passing two of the initial actuarial examinations will have the greatest job prospects. Additionally, essential elements are a solid foundation in mathematics, including the ability to calculate intricate statistics and probability. Having skills and/or experience within the computer programming is something that can also be important. Additionally, other than just the previous job growth mentioned, there will be a number of smaller jobs that are going to open up every year to provide replacement to those actuaries that are transferring to new jobs or headed to retirement.

Out of all the possible employment opportunities, the best employment options are going to come from consulting firms. The companies that might not find employing their own actuaries cost efficient will increasingly higher the consultant actuary in order to analyze the various risks associated to that company. Furthermore, there should be some additional opportunities within the healthcare industry if there are changes that do take place within managed healthcare. The desire for containment of healthcare costs is going to provide actuaries some job opportunities as they’ll be needed to be able to evaluate the associated risks with the new medical issues, such as, new disease impacts.

Due to the fact that the skills of actuaries are increasingly found useful to all types of industries that will deal with risk, such as, banking and airline industries, there should be some additional job openings within those industries and others.

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