Actuarial Organizations Explore Ways to Support Inclusion and Diversity Within the Profession
December 13, 2017
Research findings identify need for more outreach and mentorship among minority students
The Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS), the International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA), The Actuarial Foundation, and the Society of Actuaries (SOA) jointly announce the research project findings in supporting diversity and inclusion within the actuarial profession. The findings emphasized the importance of promoting early awareness of the actuarial profession among minority high school students, their parents and teachers.
The actuarial profession is often mentioned as a leading career, and it is part of the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field. However, the actuarial career is not as universally well-known as other STEM related jobs. In the United States, African-Americans, Hispanics and Latinos are generally underrepresented in STEM careers.
The four actuarial organizations worked with the market research firm C+R Research to understand the barriers for individuals pursuing the actuarial career. This research project involved a combination of online surveys and in-person focus group meetings, including with high school students, college students, actuarial candidates, and members of the actuarial organizations.
The research identified that 12 percent of the surveyed African American and Hispanic college freshman were aware of the actuarial profession. However, of those familiar with the actuarial career, 92 percent of them were considering the actuarial profession. These findings help the actuarial organizations in recognizing the continued need to spread awareness of the actuarial profession among students in high school and college.
There are growth opportunities to help students recognize and understand the career, the skillset and the benefits in becoming an actuary. Key findings and their implications include:
- Family encouragement is a major driver when considering careers. In fact, greater awareness of the profession is needed among those who influence minority students’ lives, such as parents, teachers and guidance counselors, in helping everyone learn about the actuarial profession.
- Students would benefit from access to role models. The organizations are working with their members (actuaries) to help reach out to minority students locally, and to potentially serve as mentors to these individuals.
- More awareness is needed on the scholarships and other financial support available in pursuing the actuarial career. Networking events will continue to help encourage minority students to consider the actuarial career.
The organizations are working together to evaluate and implement the recommendations through established groups such as the CAS/SOA Committee on Career Encouragement and Actuarial Diversity and an oversight group of leaders from each of the sponsoring organizations.