(Last Updated On: May 2, 2014)
Many are lure into doing actuarial science degree with the hope of landing a job with a high paying salary right after graduation. But are you fully qualified to be called an actuary? UK has approximately 8000 fully qualified actuaries and their starting salaried ranges between approximately £25,300 and £35,000 a year. The graduates in the US took home around $50,000 a year as starting salaries which usually increases with each passed and growing experience. Employees who have completed all of their professional examinations can easily double their salary to around $90,000 a year.
So what does it take to be called an actuary? You will definitely need a bachelor’s degree but it doesn’t end there. You must also pass a series of notoriously difficult math based professional exams whose failure rate can go as high as 60% even though the people doing them have probably never failed an exam in their lives. On average you would require 300-400 hours to study for each exam. If you ever hated mathematics in your life, look for another career. If you haven’t done any professional exams but you only have a degree, you are just an actuarial science graduate but not an actuary. You will end up having the same marketability status as a B. Commerce graduate.
Kenya has less than 20 resident actuaries yet hundreds of students who have been studying actuarial science graduate every year. Only a ‘fellow’ of the Faculty and Institute of Actuaries can call himself ‘actuary’. That particular status is only fourteen professional exams away which can take at least 7 years without failing.
Kenya has a shortage of qualified risk assessors in mainly the insurance sector. This isn’t good for the industry since inaccurate data leads to under-assessment of risks which can easily lead to the collapse of the industry. The few actuaries in the country mainly act as consultants in many different companies leading to the quality of work being lower. Firms in Kenya have been forced to outsource actuarial services from external actuarial services who may not have sufficient internal knowledge.
Actuaries can get jobs as general business managers or even financial officer of various institutions. They are mainly focused on risk management. The best employers are pension funds, bank risk departments, actuarial consulting firms, auditing firms, social security fund administrators and government statistics department. An actuary can also be a witness in court to estimate the economic value of losses. The employment opportunities for actuaries is projected to grow around 26 percent from 2013 to 2022, higher than most professions out there.