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Actuarial Q&A with Adam Jones

  • Publish Date: Posted 5 months ago
  • Author:by Adam Jones

​This week, we had a catch up with Adam Jones, our dedicated Actuarial recruitment expert who is celebrating three years at MERJE in November!

You've been with MERJE for a few years now, how would you describe the culture?

MERJE is a brilliant place to work – I can’t speak highly enough of the entire business. From the support team, to the management structure, everyone has a genuine interest in helping the business succeed. Highly ambitious and strong performing, whilst allowing you to carve out your own niche. I very much look forward to what is next for MERJE. Our football team is pretty sharp too.

What challenges, issues or factors are particularly pertinent to Actuarial recruitment right now?

Actuarial recruitment is at a very interesting point currently. The industry has been blessed with plenty and a variety of project work in the last few years, such as IFRS17, several M&A or de-merger transactions and FCA/PRA regulatory changes. So, being in-between major projects, the urgency and pressure to hire isn’t quite as prevalent.

But it’s not all doom and gloom; there are opportunities in the market – a lot of our clients are taking this time to strategically plan and hire the best talent for early next year and year-end.

As it has been for the last couple of years, there are more contributing factors that candidates now take in to account – it isn’t simply financially driven. Locations, flexibility, progression opportunities all have increased in importance. A growing contributor is the recruitment process itself – a slick and sophisticated process really emphasises the core values.

Has the current cost-of-living crisis had an impact on Actuarial recruitment? If so, how and what do you think the long-term effects will be?

It certainly can’t be ignored. People across all industries have to keep an eye on financials and how it impacts families. With Actuaries having a risk adverse mind-set, there is always a fully diligent approach behind major decisions. If the timing isn’t right for someone, then so be it – we focus our efforts on longer term relationships and giving genuine/productive advice.

From a client perspective, they have to consider what competitors are doing and whilst salary is an evident differentiator, running quicker and slicker processes could actually save you a few quid!

"If you’re a Qualified Actuary, you’re probably up against other Qualified Actuaries, so this isn’t your main USP."

What are your tips for companies hiring right now?

I’ve already mentioned the process itself and using this to make yourself stand out. In addition to this, you’ve still got to sell your team and company.

As a hiring manager, don’t take anything for granted – empathise with the external candidate market and what they’re looking for. Don’t just say “yes, it’s a great place to work”…. Be personable and talk about day to day examples – the detail makes the difference. Don’t sell the basics as the best thing since sliced bread – everyone has these.

Also, don’t disregard things that might be a problem, tackle them head on with both us as a recruiter and the candidate themselves, and look to provide solutions – they’ll creep out the woodwork at some point so it’s best to get ahead of the curve.

Any key advice for candidates too? For example, what are the top skills Actuarial employers want?

Set yourself apart! It sounds straight forward, but similar to employers above, empathise with their viewpoint. If you’re a Qualified Actuary, you’re probably up against other Qualified Actuaries, so this isn’t your main USP. You’re value add might be that you’ve worked across several disciplines or you’re a master of your particular niche.

Leadership/mentorship examples are strong factors to consider for the right role. The biggest thing for me is personality – anyone who’s worked with me will know I’m very focused on you being yourself. We’re not robots (even with the drive for AI and Machine Learning) so be personable, show ambition and drop in a hint of humour when you get the chance!

"Don’t sell the basic benefits as the best thing since sliced bread – everyone has these"

What are the key differences between MERJE and any other recruitment agency?

MERJE has been the perfect business for me to be a part of. We’re a business that clients and candidates come back to regularly – not only based on our specialist knowledge and service, but for how we represent ourselves.

Within the company itself, every individual genuinely wants one another to succeed and offers support to help get there – that’s such a rare commodity across the industry.

What are your ambitions for MERJE's Actuarial offering?

Time has flown by and MERJE Actuarial is now at the three year mark – we’ve certainly set the foundations and got a great base in place due to our drive for long-term relationship building. We’re the “go to” recruitment partner for some brilliant insurers and we’re continuing to grow in popularity. We’ll continue to keep up with developments in the UK and Irish Actuarial markets across Life, Pensions, Non-Life and the Consultancy sectors.

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