Career Advice

Career Change From Actuary: 6 Options You Should Consider

Actuaries are extremely valuable to insurance companies because of their specialized knowledge of how insurance and risk work. However, actuaries wanting to leave the insurance industry may wonder what job is similar to an actuary.

The good news is that there are many alternative careers for actuaries. Here are some options to look into if you want a career change from being an actuary.

What Can You Do After Being an Actuary?

All businesses, whether banks, I.T. companies, or investment firms, face a variety of risks, including operational, reputational, and cybersecurity risks. Since businesses need to proactively deal with risk, professionals who are trained to do so are in demand.

As an actuary, you are trained to use your financial, statistical, and mathematical knowledge to forecast and assess potential risk, and also help companies minimize the cost should a risk turn into reality.

While most actuaries work for insurance companies, their risk-management skills can be applied across industries. In addition, while actuaries focus on financial risk, their knowledge of risk can also be used to mitigate other types of risk.

As such, actuaries actually have many options if they’re looking for a career change. Also, their analytical skills are directly transferable to a wide range of careers.

Jobs for Professionals Wanting a Career Change From Being an Actuary

Here’s a list of careers you can consider if you’re looking for a career change from being an actuary. While one job is in the insurance industry, all other jobs provide you with an exit opportunity from the industry if that’s what you’re looking for.

1. Risk Manager

Since actuaries are essentially risk managers, moving into the role of a risk manager will be seamless.

Risk managers, as the name implies, are responsible for managing a company’s risks. The skills that actuaries have for evaluating complicated risks and presenting the results in a way that’s easy to understand are directly transferable to the role of a risk manager.

Risk managers identify and evaluate a company’s risks and then develop and implement risk management strategies to minimize the potential adverse impact of materialized risks on a company’s profits and operations.

Typically, risk managers deal with event risks, which are unexpected events such as a market downfall, a fire, or a nuclear disaster.

Event risk also includes operational risk, such as the potential for failed procedures, systems, or policies.

In addition, risk managers may assist a company with compliance, which involves ensuring that all relevant regulations and laws are being followed.

Median Pay 2021: $135,000 per year

2. Data Scientist

Since the collection and analysis of data is becoming increasingly important for companies when it comes to building a business strategy and improving operations, professionals who work with data are in-demand.

Data scientists are paid well for the business insights they provide through the in-depth analysis of a company’s data.

These analytical data experts use their mathematical, statistical, and analytical skills to solve complex business problems. Apart from their solid grasp of statistics, these experts have knowledge of analytical techniques, such as machine learning and text analytics.

If you’re an actuary wishing to transition into the lucrative world of data science, you will likely have to study relevant analytical techniques, and will also have to gain some knowledge of a variety of programming languages, such as SAS, R, and Python.

While the transition will certainly require that you expand your skills, a career as a data scientist will be well worth the time and effort.

Median Pay 2021: $100, 910

3. Financial Analyst

The analytical skills that you apply in your daily duties as an actuary will come in handy in the world of financial analysis. Financial analysts advise businesses on a wide range of subjects, including investments, corporate governance, markets, and economics.

While precise responsibilities vary depending on the position, the main role of a financial analyst is to provide guidance on how companies should spend their money in order to gain profit.

Daily duties may include gathering information, analyzing financial results, making forecasts and projections, and identifying new opportunities for businesses.

Since the term financial analyst is broad, you’ll need to do thorough research to determine what exact role you’re aiming for. Knowing whether you want to become an investment banking analyst, equity research analyst, or corporate development analyst, for instance, will provide you with the necessary focus during your job search.

Median Pay 2021: $95,570 per year

4. Insurance Underwriter

Since insurance underwriters and actuaries both work for insurance companies and deal with risk, it’s easy to confuse the two. However, they have different responsibilities.

While actuaries determine the premiums an insurance company should charge depending on factors like age or income, insurance underwriters work with individual applications.

Each application includes details about the applicant, such as their age, gender, and income, as well as their medical and driving history. Based on the information supplied, an insurance underwriter will decide whether to insure an applicant or not, and what the appropriate premium should be.

Seeing that you’ll be staying in the insurance industry, transitioning to a career as an insurance underwriter should be quite easy. In fact, this career move is quite common. As an insurance underwriter, you deal directly with clients and learn how to sell. These work experiences can help build your career going forward.

Median Pay 2021: $76,390 per year

5. Cost Estimator

Cost estimators are also professionals who collect and analyze data. The goal of their data collection and analysis is to gauge how much time, money, and labor will be needed to manufacture a product or provide a service.

The insights that these professionals provide help companies with pricing their products or services appropriately and submitting competitive contract bids.

Companies can also use the insights that cost estimators provide to determine whether it’s actually worth their while to produce a product, or whether they should rather buy it.

Also, cost estimators can analyze current products or services to learn why they are costing more than the original estimations projected they would.

Since companies are constantly aiming to provide cost-effective products or services, there is always a need for cost estimators. Actuaries who want to transition into this role will find that they have many transferable skills, such as data analysis and the preparation of estimates.

Depending on the exact role you’re applying for, you may need to broaden your knowledge of the relevant industry, for instance, in construction, manufacturing, or civil engineering.

Median Pay 2021: $65,170

6. Market Research Analyst

Another job in which you can apply your analytical skills is that of a market research analyst. Market research analysts help companies assess potential sales of their products or services through in-depth statistical analysis of consumer preferences and business conditions.

By collecting and studying data about all facets of sales and marketing, including prices, competitors, and distribution methods, market research analysts are able to predict consumer behavior. This knowledge is valuable for companies since it can help them with the development of effective marketing plans.

Since market research analysts use mathematical and statistical methods in their analysis, the role has many similarities to that of an actuary. To make the transition to market research analysis, you should broaden your knowledge of marketing strategies, advertising practices, branding, and marketing technology and software.

Median Pay 2021: $63,920 per year

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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