Employment of actuaries is expected to grow as fast as the
average for all occupations through 2012. Employment opportunities
should remain good for those who qualify, because the stringent
qualifying examination system restricts the number of candidates.
Employment growth in the insurance industry is expected to continue at
a stable pace, while more significant job growth is likely in some
other industries. In addition, a small number of jobs will open up each
year to replace actuaries who leave the occupation to retire or who
find new jobs.
Steady demand by the insurance industry—the
largest employer of actuaries—should ensure that actuary jobs in this
key industry will not decrease over the projection period. Although
relatively few new jobs will be created, actuaries will continue to be
needed to develop, price, and evaluate a variety of insurance products
and calculate the costs of new risks. Recently, employment of actuaries
in life insurance had begun to decline, but the growing popularity of
annuities, a financial product offered primarily by life insurance
companies, has resulted in some job growth in this specialty. Also, new
actuarial positions have been created in property-casualty insurance to
analyze evolving risks, such as terrorism.
Some new employment opportunities for actuaries should also become available in the
health-care field as health-care issues and Medicare reform continue to
receive growing attention. Increased regulation of managed health-care
companies and the desire to contain health-care costs will continue to
provide job opportunities for actuaries, who will also be needed to
evaluate the risks associated with new medical issues, such as genetic
testing and the impact of new diseases. Others in this field are
involved in drafting health-care legislation.
A significant proportion of new actuaries will find employment with consulting firms.
Companies that may not find it cost effective to hire their own
actuaries are increasingly hiring consulting actuaries to analyze
various risks. Other areas with notable growth prospects are
information services and accounting services. Also, because actuarial
skills are increasingly seen as useful to other industries that deal
with risk, such as the airline and the banking industries, additional
job openings may be created in these industries.
The best job prospects for entry-level positions will be for those candidates who
have passed at least one or two of the initial actuarial exams.
Candidates with additional knowledge or experience, such as computer
programming skills, will be particularly attractive to employers. Most
jobs in this occupation are located in urban areas, but opportunities
vary by geographic location. Opportunities should be best in Illinois,
New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut—the four States in which about
one-third of all actuary jobs are concentrated.