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Occupational Profile

Actuary

Actuaries help organizations manage and monitor risk by evaluating the likelihood of future events and designing creative ways to reduce the likelihood of undesirable events and decrease the impact of undesirable events that do occur. They may evaluate uncertainties associated with life or property or casualty insurance, annuities, social security, worker's compensation, pension or other employee benefit plans.

  • Avg. Salary $80,589.00
  • Avg. Wage $43.22
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary
  • Outlook N/A
  • In Demand High
Also Known As

Consulting Actuary, Insurance Actuary, Risk Manager

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

N/A
Average Wage
Starting
Overall
Top
  • Certification Not Regulated
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
NOC & Interest Codes
The Actuary is part of the following larger National Occupational Classification (NOC).
Actuaries
NOC code: 2161.3
INNOVATIVE

Interest in synthesizing information to design life, health, and property insurance policies through research

METHODICAL

Interest in preparing records on mortality, sickness, accident, disability and retirement based on research and analysis of statistical, economic and other data

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting to provide legal evidence on the value of future earnings, and to assist investment fund managers in portfolio asset allocation decisions and risk management; may supervise the activities of workers engaged in preparing and processing contracts and insurance, annuity and pension policies

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation. 

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn More

Duties
Updated Mar 04, 2016

Much of life is uncertain. It involves risk, such as risk of sickness, disability, unemployment, property damage or loss or dying unexpectedly. Although these risks are unpredictable for any one individual, actuaries can analyze statistics and calculate the probability of uncertain events occurring in the future among members of defined groups. With that information, they can help design programs to mitigate risks.

In insurance companies, actuaries are involved in almost every aspect of the business including:

  • developing new products and services
  • setting premiums
  • monitoring profitability 
  • valuating appropriate reserve levels
  • management and administration.

In other settings, actuaries may provide a wide variety of services. For example, they may:

  • help employers, labour unions and trustees design, fund and administer private pension plans and other employee benefit plans
  • specialize in the probabilities of loss arising from events such as sickness, disability and casualties caused by fire, theft, windstorm or automobile accident
  • appear as expert witnesses in court proceedings on issues such as lost future earnings
  • help investment fund managers optimize their returns based on the nature of benefit liabilities and an organization's risk tolerances
  • improve medical insurance plans by showing the long term savings possible through alternative treatments or the introduction of new drugs
  • advise companies on how to set up trust funds to cover anticipated future expenses.

All actuaries must also ensure legislative requirements and filings are met.

Working Conditions
Updated Mar 04, 2016

Although actuaries work in offices with standard office hours, longer hours sometimes are required. Some travel may be required for business meetings and conferences.

  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg
Skills & Abilities
Updated Mar 04, 2016

Actuaries need the following characteristics:

  • an interest in mathematics
  • practical business sense
  • the creativity required to develop innovative solutions to problems
  • effective communication skills
  • the ability to work with a wide variety of people.

They should enjoy synthesizing information and solving problems, taking a methodical approach to their work, making decisions and consulting with people.

Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 04, 2016

Actuaries need related education and experience and must pass a series of qualifying exams. A solid background in math is important. Courses in the following subject areas are an asset:

  • actuarial science
  • statistics
  • economics
  • commerce
  • accounting
  • business administration
  • finance
  • computer science
  • marketing.

Students are encouraged to complete economics, corporate finance and applied statistics course requirements and write some first level exams while still at university. This enables them to find employment in the actuarial field. Although most employers give actuarial students some time to study during working hours, students generally have to study on their own time as well.

Most actuaries have a bachelor's degree in actuarial science, mathematics or statistics. For information about degree programs in mathematics and statistics, see the Mathematician and Statistician occupational profiles.

Some Canadian universities offer courses in actuarial science that help students prepare for professional exams.


Related Education

The following schools offer programs or courses that are related to this occupation but are not required to enter the field.

Concordia University of Edmonton

For a broad list of programs and courses that may be related to this occupation try searching using keywords.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 04, 2016

To achieve the designation of Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (FCIA), successful completion of professional examinations offered through the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society is required. University students may apply to the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) for credit from some of the early actuarial exams for courses taken at accredited universities. Other requirements include professional Canadian experience and professional development. Enrolment as an Associate of the CIA also is a requirement while working towards Fellowship.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 04, 2016

Actuaries may be employed by or work on a contract basis for:

  • banks
  • consulting firms
  • life insurance companies
  • property or casualty insurance companies
  • reinsurance companies
  • universities
  • government departments
  • large corporations.

There is an increasing demand for actuaries in non-traditional roles such as compensation consulting, workers' compensation, health care management, financial planning, investments, environmental liability, enterprise risk management, human resources and information systems.

Experienced actuaries may advance to senior management positions.

Actuaries are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 2161: Mathematicians, Statisticians and Actuaries. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook in this occupation will be influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • trends and events affecting overall employment (especially in the industries listed above)
  • location in Alberta
  • employment turnover (work opportunities generated by people leaving existing positions)
  • occupational growth (work opportunities resulting from the creation of new positions that never existed before)
  • size of the occupation.

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 04, 2016

Salaries vary depending on the actuary's qualifications, location and the type of employer.

Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries
NOC code: 2161

Survey Methodology

Survey Analysis

Overall Wage Details
Average Wage
Average Salary
Hours Per Week

Hourly Wage
For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $25.79 $47.38 $34.59 $32.24
Overall $36.44 $61.81 $43.22 $42.58
Top $40.04 $66.81 $49.81 $46.89

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

C: Lower Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

Lower Reliability, represents a CV of between 15.01% and 33.00% and/or if fewer than 20 survey observations and/or if survey observations represent less than 33% of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Industry Information
Health Care & Social Assistance
Public Administration
ALBERTA, ALL INDUSTRIES

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years

N/A

Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties

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Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months

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2015 Vacancy Rate

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Related High School Subjects
  • English Language Arts
  • Mathematics
  • Science
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Business, Management and Administrative Studies
  • Mathematics
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 04, 2016

Be An Actuary website: www.BeAnActuary.org

Canadian Institute of Actuaries website: www.cia-ica.ca

Casualty Actuarial Society website: www.casact.org

Society of Actuaries website: www.soa.org

 

For more information on career planning, education and jobs, visit the Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS) website, call the Alberta Career Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-661-3753 or 780-422-4266 in Edmonton, or visit an Alberta Works Centre near you.

Updated Mar 03, 2016. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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