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‘Count Me In’ – Promoting Diversity in the Actuarial Profession

Count Me In

On Wednesday 2 October, Sammy Ford and Craig Lynch represented APR at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries ‘Count Me In’ Event in Edinburgh. The following week, on Thursday 10 October, Mohassin Shah spoke at the equivalent event in London.

These events were targeted towards both university and high-school students (and their families), to introduce them to a range of rewarding careers in actuarial science. The events had a particular emphasis on increasing diversity within the profession, by giving students who hadn’t come across actuarial work before the opportunity to ask lots of questions about it. Our attendance at these events complemented an initiative at APR to support diversity and inclusion in our own company and, we hope in some small part, in the wider profession.

The evening in Edinburgh, held at Heriot-Watt University, kicked off with a presentation entitled ‘What is an Actuary?’ by Caitlin Stronach, a member of the IFoA’s Scottish Board, providing a brief overview of the kind of work actuaries do and the role they play in the financial sector.

The next two speakers were representatives of Heriot-Watt who provided information about the Actuarial Science degree offered by the university. They also led an interactive thought experiment where participants played the role of an actuary gathering data in order to price disaster insurance for different countries.

Next up was Sammy and Craig’s presentation about ‘Launching a Career as an Actuary’, in which Craig spoke about his work experience prior to graduating and his time spent studying abroad, explaining how these helped him secure a role at APR. Sammy then spoke about her experience as a student actuary and about the recruitment processes involved in applying for actuarial graduate roles.

After a short break, during which participants were given a chance to network and to talk to the speakers, the next round of presentations kicked off with different speakers sharing their experiences in the profession, and the current challenges and opportunities in the industry.

In the closing session, Sammy joined a panel with three other representatives to discuss ‘What employers look for’ and to answer a wide range of questions the audience had around recruitment. Topics covered included whether there are any ‘red flags’ that recruiters look out for and how best to seek feedback on an unsuccessful application.

After the formal sessions, attendees were given one final chance to network and ask the speakers any questions they had before the event came to a close.

The London event, held at the Staple Inn Actuarial Society the next week, followed a similar format. Among a range of other speakers from the profession and from actuarial employers, attendees heard a talk from APR’s Mohassin Shah who shared his experiences in starting his actuarial career.

We found these events highly valuable in giving those in the profession the chance to pass on their experiences, as well as outlining the different paths into the profession. As an example, many of the high-school students were unfamiliar with the Certified Actuarial Analyst route into the profession, and we were able to explain how APR’s CAA scheme works. The insight of the various speakers and the panellists’ answers to student’s questions regarding job applications, along with the wider information about the industry on display, mean that those who attended will surely find themselves in an advantageous position to find their role as an actuary.

Craig Lynch

November 2019

Craig Lynch