Information Underload

The following letter was printed in the August 2008 edition of The Actuary.

Your July 2008 edition referred to the revised situation regarding work permits, making entry to the UK more difficult. It appears that, as an industry, we may soon find ourselves with a skills shortage due to inaction. If we want to avoid a serious personnel deficit over the next few years, we need to start taking note of where these staff shortages occur.

I wish to give actuaries, and the Profession in general, a more detailed update of what has been happening ‘behind the scenes’, having worked actively on this matter since the end of 2006, when the classification of the industry was officially altered.

After raising queries and complaints about this alteration, I was invited to the Home Office. Accompanied by the chief executive of the Institute of Actuaries, I met with two members of the Home Office’s Operational Policy team to discuss the situation in May 2007.

We discovered that, in order to get actuaries back on the shortage list, it would be necessary for the Financial Services Skills Council to collect robust data substantiating a shortage. It was decided that the Institute would investigate further. The chief executive of the Institute requested authority from various committees to research and collect such data, but to date there has been no significant progress.

I was contacted in June to say that a new shortage list was being compiled — again, without the inclusion of actuaries, unless they received immediate information confirming a shortage.

It is too late to change the situation this time around but in order to make a difference for the next renewal, robust data must be collated. Without evidence, the limitations will continue and so will the staff shortages.

If you are an employer experiencing a shortage – whether it be at graduate, part qualified or qualified level, please e-mail me at and I will organise a meeting of relevant parties.

Dr Geraldine Kaye
3 July 2008

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