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What does an actuary do?


Life is beset with risks. Risks that are difficult to estimate but may have great financial consequences. Indeed, nobody knows beforehand when a fire or a storm will break out. Nor can the behaviour of fellow road users be predicted. Actuaries determine the chance of such risks occurring, and establish their financial consequences.

Other fields of actuary activity are pensions and social provisions. For instance, it is for actuaries to consider how to overcome a pension gap or how to introduce a flexible retirement age. Other relevant matters for actuaries to contemplate are the sustainability of Old-Age Pensions in the face of the progressively aging population, and the financial consequences of linking wages and benefits. Actuaries are also the persons from which solutions for financial problems ensuing from DNA-manipulation by medical science are expected.


In whatever area the actuary is occupied, his principal technique is always to look systematically into the future, make predictions, and translate them into financial consequences. So, in essence, an actuary is a creative problem solver who occupies himself with the future on the basis of the past.

The actuary has the best job

For the fourth year in a row (2013) Dutch magazine Elsevier has chosen the profession of actuary as best job in the Netherlands. The Dutch survey Studie en werk 2013 of Elsevier and SEO Economic Research, shows that the actuarial profession scores best for a top level job/career for starters (higher professional education (HBO) and university education (WO)). With a rating of 8.1 the profession ranks first in the top 12 of best jobs in 2013 in the Netherlands before credit analyst and dentist.


The survey yearly ranks 12 jobs that provide an optimal mix of six characteristics of a good job: income, employment outlook, attractive benefits, a function on graduation level, overall satisfaction and a work week that is appropriate to the desired number of hours. The survey examined how graduates of higher professional education and academics perform compared to recent graduates with a similar training in the same sector.



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