The Actuary Magazine has an online job search facility The Actuary Jobs. As vacancies are uploaded by both employers and a selection of recruiters, we decided to assume that is representative of the range of actuarial opportunities currently available. The initial aim was to produce a statistical analysis of the vacancies available on The Actuary Jobs in order to create a picture of the current actuarial job market.
Which sectors have the most vacancies? And at which levels of experience? Are there significant differences in salary across sectors? How great are the increases in salary between different career stages – from recent graduates to experienced actuaries?
First I entered the data for the number of vacancies by sector. As shown in Graph 1, there are significantly more vacancies advertised for General and Life positions than for any other sector.
The next stage was to investigate how these vacancies subdivided by career stage. (Graph 2) The job search facility recognises 8 distinct career stages from undergraduate through to experienced.
At first glance it appears that once a candidate has commenced their actuarial studies there does not seem to be a significant difference in the number of vacancies available at the various career stages within a sector.
The situation appears even stranger when looking at the salaries available at each career stage (Graph 3). There are vacancies available for experienced actuaries within the lowest pay-band of £20,000 – £29,000 and it would seem that there are positions available where actuarial students, at the beginning of their career, will be able to command a salary in excess of £120,000!
The solution lies in the way that vacancies have been uploaded to the jobsearch facility. Once vacancy for a head of pricing, responsible for dealing with senior management lists the experience required as “Actuarial Student, Ex-student, Part Qualified, Nearly / Newly Qualified, Qualified, Experienced”. Therefore, this position is included as a vacancy at every career stage, rendering statistical analysis of the data impossible. More importantly is the effect that this will have on candidates using this facility to search for a job.
Visitors to The Actuary Jobs are invited to choose from a selection of criteria (sector, level, salary) in order to create a short list of appropriate vacancies. Understandably there may be some overlap between career stages, a vacancy may be suitable either for someone who is Nearly / Newly Qualified or for someone Qualified, but to list every career stage for one vacancy, as in the example above, renders the search facility useless. Candidates using The Actuary Jobs search facility will not be able to obtain a short list that is any more meaningful that the full list of vacancies.
It is imperative for employers and recruiters to carefully consider their choice of keywords when uploading a vacancy. At present, this does not appear to be the case.