A full day of work and a little a bit more - Mixing professional and honorary commitment
University studies, education and training to qualify as an actuary, professional life, further education and perhaps giving your expertise in an honorary capacity too - there is no room for boredom as an actuary or if you’re on the way to becoming one. Once they have professional designation and their professional career is underway, some actuaries find the time to sit on actuarial committees in an honorary capacity in addition to the time consuming work they do for companies. This is a "win-win situation" for the associations, companies and also for the ‘volunteers’, according to some actuaries. In a series of interviews in the DAV member magazine with actuaries who work for the German Association of Actuaries (DAV) in an honorary capacity in addition to their jobs, the following questions were asked: How much time does this work require, where does your motivation come from, and what advantages does it bring?
Research, drafting proposals, taking part in meetings and discussions - the time commitment of working in an honorary capacity
"Every now and then, you really have to get a move on to get everything done" (Nina Kilian on the workload involved in working in an honorary capacity).
According to the actuaries interviewed, the time required for this kind of unsalaried work varies and should not be underestimated. The amount of work often varies throughout the year - sometimes it’s less, sometimes evenings or weekends have to be used for work and research. "It's not just about the meetings, events or discussions, but also about the time spent preparing or following up, the time to simply put something down on paper so that we can continue to work in the committee," says Klaus-Peter Mangold. Dr. Monika Sebold-Bender, who sits on a working group on climate change, estimates she gives up to ten days of working time. "Climate change is a complex topic and requires extensive research and literature studies," she explains. However, good support from the association makes work in an honorary capacity much easier, according to the actuaries interviewed. The interviewees see another positive aspect in the digitalization of many meetings as a result of the pandemic. Although there is no longer face-to-face communication and direct contact with colleagues, regular video calls are very efficient due to the traveling time that is saved. In addition, participants can join meetings online more easily and from anywhere.
Employers support working in an honorary capacity
For the association, the professional honorary duties of its members are very important and an enrichment - for employers too. "My employer supports the activity, for which I am also very grateful. Conversely, my employer can of course also benefit from the cooperation and the associated insight into current professional topics," says Dr Marco Schnurr in the interview. Holger Theismann also receives "full support" and is even given time off work. "My employer is also justifiably confident that it will gain insights from this commitment, for example, by identifying new developments at an early stage through this engagement," says Theismann. Often, employer support and working in the association in an honorary capacity are closely linked. "Without the support of my employer, my honorary engagement would not be possible," emphasizes Katrin Schulze.
Motivation for working in an honorary capacity – networking with colleagues and broadening one's horizons
The actuaries interviewed were unanimous in their opinion that working in an honorary capacity brings both professional and personal benefits. The cooperation means you can broaden your horizons: "Topics beyond the interests and specifics of the company are examined. This broadens the perspective and helps in daily work," says Dr Sebold-Bender. Furthermore, it is possible to work on the development of the profession. "I have often been able to benefit from various professional papers written by colleagues in working groups. My participation in the working group is a way of giving something back – I can now contribute something myself to the professional development of our profession", says Theismann. Mangold emphasizes that it is particularly motivating when the results help other colleagues and make a difference.
The respondents also agree that collaboration and networking opportunities with colleagues are a key factor. "I find collaboration with experts from other fields particularly exciting," says Schulze. "The contact with other actuaries is always fun and can be very enriching," emphasizes Dr Schnurr. Therefore, the conclusion of the actuaries interviewed is - collaboration is worthwhile! "I would recommend other members to join the association at any time. It is enriching and interesting to think outside the box, to get to know colleagues with different fields of specialization and to develop a consensus," says Nina Kilian.