Actuaries in Barbados and across the region are being urged to upgrade their skills constantly and take advantage of opportunities as they become available.
This advice has come from Lesley Traverso, Actuarial and Analytics Search Specialist with the Australia-based Talent Insights Group.
She said while there have been many reports on what new skills will be needed for the future, close attention should be paid to “the value that you have in terms of your personal business relationships and your personal brand”. “ To be able to take advantage of diverse career changes of direction the development of social capital is really important,” said Traverso.
She said some critical skills for the future included “cognitive flexibility, digital literacy, and computational thinking, judgment and decision-making, emotional and social intelligence, creative and innovative mindset and flexibility and an open-minded attitude”.
Traverso was speaking recently during episode 8 of the Caribbean Actuarial Association (CAA) diversity of thought series, under the theme Actuaries: Reach Out!
While indicating that an international career move was not easy “for all sorts of reasons”, she advised the actuaries not to be afraid to take risks.
In fact, Traverso advised that in order to maximise value from their skills, actuaries should recognise that their training was a foundation and not an end result.
“Human beings tend to be naturally risk-averse and continue to do what they are familiar with and what they are used to.
[However], take the view that the actuarial training is a foundation . . . it is like gaining a driver’s licence, how you conduct how you drive and where you go with it is up to you. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to drive the same car for the rest of your life,” she said. “Be open to different career pathways and nurture your creative side.
That is one of the things they said in the research and that is not necessarily about producing artwork for the weekend, but coming out of problems in a different way, and don’t be afraid to take risks,” she advised.
The experienced recruitment executive explained that with some borders closing from time to time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this was making it more difficult for experienced actuaries to go to those countries and provide service.
Pointing to the Australian experience with border closures, she said: “it reduces the number of experienced actuaries that are able to come here, there is no sponsorship available or visas. It has also completely decimated our student intake and will have a knock-on effect in two to three years’ time.”
While explaining that it was critical to pay attention to how they displayed their online profile information to maximize their chances of being noticed for jobs, Traverso told the actuaries not to base their decision to take on a new challenge solely on higher-income opportunities.
“One of the things I am frequently disappointed with when I listen to people talking about their career choices is people make them based on a higher financial offer rather than the higher learning they will get from that mode. However long you have been working we should always still be learning, growing, developing interest and experiences,” she said.
“If you want to go in a non-traditional area in most markets you will no longer be paid for your actuary qualification but on the work you do. So look on that as a form of apprenticeship for developing those skills,” she added.
Pointing out that life was not linear, she also called on the actuaries to “be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses, be clear as to what your skills are, put your job title to one side and think about what those skills are and then what you need to acquire to look for opportunities, and what value that means to an employer.”