What’s going on in the Actuarial world? We caught up with our dynamic duo to find out.
Adam Jones and Tom Parker have been recruiting in the Actuarial industry for over 7 years. From prophet modelling to loss adjustments to solvency II, they know everything there is to know about searching for your next career step or identifying the right person for your team in this space.
First off, tell us about your roles and specialism at MERJE.
Adam: Both Tom and I support interim and permanent requirements throughout the UK. I specialise in the Insurance Risk & Actuarial sector, working with clients across Life Insurance, Pensions, General Insurance, Health and Consultancy.
My network of candidates ranges from Part Qualified Actuaries through to those who are Post Qualified and have senior experience at Senior Manager, Head of or Chief Actuary level.
Tom: My work focuses on Quantitative Risk & Actuarial. I cover the Asset Management and Wealth space, typically working with risk teams across 1st and 2nd line.
I also cross over with Adam on the Life and Pensions, General Insurance and Consultancy arenas. Typically, my network is made up of Part to Post Qualified Actuaries or those studying towards their CFA.
Adam is enjoying his one year MERJE anniversary this week, and Tom has had a few months to settle in after joining the team back in July. How have your MERJE experiences been so far?
Adam: A year already… that’s absolutely flown by. As I regularly say to my candidates and clients, joining MERJE was the best decision I’ve made, for both my personal and professional development. I’m surrounded by fantastic colleagues in a supportive and encouraging environment that allows everyone to thrive. Not to mention that the Actuarial market has been consistently busy. What more can you ask for?
Tom: It’s been great! The culture has been everything I had hoped for and more. The office is one of the most productive environments I have been in – personal and laid-back yet professional – and the support on offer is fantastic. Shout out to the Marketing and Support functions who allow us to focus on providing the best possible experience to our candidates and clients!
What are you looking forward to in the future of your careers with MERJE?
Adam: Quite simply, more of the same! Having spent my first few months building the Actuarial desk from scratch, we’re now starting to see it flourish and the addition of Tom has been a positive reflection of that. I’m looking forward to continuing the growth of MERJE’s Actuarial offering, complementing our other areas such as Credit Risk & Analytics, and partnering with even more clients to support their hiring plans. I’m sure there are plenty more golf days to be arranged as well, when the weather improves…
Tom: I agree with Adam on this one. We’ve had a really great start to life at MERJE and long may it continue! We’ve already worked with some great businesses across Insurance, Risk Consultancy and Investments, successfully placing roles such as Capital Modelling and Reporting Actuaries, Analysts across Risk, Actuarial Modelling and Systems, Pricing Managers and more. I’m excited to develop deeper relationships with these clients as well as establishing new ones.
What trends have you noticed in the Actuarial recruitment market recently?
Both: It’s busy across the board! We’ve got opportunities that span the full range of technical work within an Actuarial remit as companies have picked up the many hiring plans that were put on hold last year.
GI Pricing has been in particularly high demand this year after the FCA updated its guidelines and policies.
Part to Nearly/Newly Qualified Actuaries across all sectors are heavily sought after as well. It’s great to see that businesses want to invest in candidates for the long term and support them through their remaining exams.
ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) and Climate Change is a very topical subject in the current times and one that Actuaries and Risk people alike can play a key part in. With chancellor Rishi Sunak’s recent announcement at the COP26 Climate Summit that all UK financial institutions and listed firms will soon have to publish strategies on how they will transition to net-zero by 2050, we can expect a heavy focus on hiring in the business areas that will support with this.
IFRS 17 also gets a mention. We’re now just over a year until the go-live date (1 Jan 2023) for the new accounting rules, so the early part of next year will see a demand for those individuals who already have some IFRS 17 experience or come from a strong Solvency II Reporting background.
What advice would you give to employers who are recruiting in the current market?
Both: With the market at the moment being so candidate-driven, it means that highly skilled Actuarial professionals are in demand and hiring businesses are in competition with each other to attract them.
To make your company stand out from the crowd, there are a few things you can do:
The process needs to be slick. Actuaries are always described as “risk adverse” people and if the process is disjointed, it can cause an element of doubt about the culture of the company. It is vital to make a good impression from the get go.
You also need to keep on top of your timescales. Once you’ve committed to making hires, make sure the process doesn’t drag out. While you’re busy scheduling that third or fourth interview, one of your competitors will swoop in and make an unmissable offer, meaning you’ll miss out on the person you want and end up back at square one.
One thing many hiring managers and interviews could also improve on is selling themselves and the company. Yes, as recruitment partners we can talk you up to candidates and try to give them a good idea of the role and the business, but this needs to be reinforced from the horse’s mouth.
Ultimately, these candidates will have a number of opportunities to choose between so you need to make yours stand out. To do this, be honest, talk about your short and long term plans for this role and the business overall, and be clear on the working flexibility model. If we’ve learnt anything in the past 18 months, it’s that flexible working is paramount for employee satisfaction!
And what about candidates seeking new roles at the moment?
Both: There is a lot of advice we can give to candidates. Every person has different reasons for looking and career motivations so it’s hard to cover all at once, but we’ll offer three pieces of guidance for now -
Ask us for advice
It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you want or what’s next for you. We’ll provide you with the ideas and information you need, from interview techniques to CV writing to the most in-demand qualifications and more. After all, we’re recruitment experts within your sector and our expertise is completely free for you to take advantage of!
Be open and honest
The more information you share with us, the better equipped we are in matching you with the perfect role.
Commit to the process
Juggling your current work day, home life and the job hunt can be difficult, but it’s important to remember that everything you do throughout the interview process reflects who you are as a potential employee.
Just as you would get a bad impression if the company rearranged a meeting one too many times or turned up to the interview unprepared, so do they when you do the same. If you’re serious about finding your perfect next career step, you must carve out time and energy to commit to it.
Favourite MERJE moment so far
Adam: Carden Park was cracking day out with all of the Manchester office.
Tom: Easily Carden Park, although I hear the Christmas event is not to be missed.
Describe the MERJE culture in three words
Both: Successful / fun / collaborative
Best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Adam: Join MERJE!
Tom: Move to Manchester, I love it here!
TV show recommendation
Adam and Tom are the Actuarial recruitment gurus at MERJE. Find out more about them here. If you would like to chat with them about looking for a role or hiring the right person for your team, get in touch.