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Insurance industry faces with skill shortage of actuaries

A job with great career opportunities, ranking among the top 10 best-paid professions as well as the possibility to work in many different fields – the actuarial profession offers all this. And yet, the number of first-year students in the field of mathematics/actuarial science is declining.
Written on 04/27/21

In a study by the German Association of Actuaries (DAV), the professional body representing all actuaries in Germany, and its scientific partner association the German Society for Insurance and Financial Mathematics (DGVFM), 12 universities in Germany were surveyed on the development of their mathematics courses. 10 of the 12 universities have recorded declining numbers of first-year students in mathematics/business mathematics over the last five years. Universities put the decline at between 13 and 52 percent.

"We are already seeing a shortage of qualified mathematicians," explained Dr Guido Bader, chairman of the DAV board, in an interview with the FAZ newspaper. "It is not easy to fill vacancies". His statement confirms the results of the study by DAV/DGVFM - the majority of the universities surveyed expect slightly declining numbers of beginners in the coming years or a stabilization at the current level. Dr Bader estimates that there is a shortage of about 2,000 to 3,000 actuaries. However, the demand for actuaries is set to increase.

According to the respondents at the universities, the reason for the declining number of first-year students is the competition between university courses. In particular computer science, KI and data science are in direct competition with courses in mathematics or business mathematics. Universities are responding to this by increasing their focus on modern methods of statistics and machine learning, and by introducing new courses such as techno-mathematics or distance learning.

DAV and the DGVFM are trying to counter the shortage of mathematicians and the resulting shortage of actuaries. They are expanding their contacts with universities in order to inform students at an early stage about the many different career opportunities open to actuaries. Lectures at universities, the arrangement of internships, workshops and company visits for students are just some of the activities aimed at arousing students’ interest in the actuarial profession. The aim is also to increase awareness of the actuarial profession and mathematics in general in schools at an early stage. School materials, teacher training and classes taught by practitioners at schools are being offered to get learners excited about mathematics.