How to succeed as an actuary

Numbers on screen

What does it take to build an actuarial career in Malaysia today? Here’s what you need to know.

The importance of insurance today is paramount. Heralded as a means of protection from financial loss, it is a form of risk management, primarily used to hedge against the risk of a contingent or uncertain loss.

Actuaries serve as the back bone for the insurance company. They predict the profitability of various customers by using several mathematical and statistical formulas. These professionals estimate the present value cost for future uncertainty like accidents, deaths, natural disaster, disability and lawsuits. 

Actuaries are engaged in life insurance, retirement benefit consultancies, asset management, post retirement medical benefit, and general insurance. 

It is therefore no surprise that over the years, demand for actuaries has risen significantly in Malaysia and is likely to continue. With respect to General Insurance, the de-tariff measures for motor insurance in the country have led to a rise in candidates in pricing and general insurance, while candidates with an actuarial background are being sought after for highly technical insurance roles, such as pricing and valuation. 

Notwithstanding, the demand for underwriters in the insurance sector has also been constant, ever more so with the proliferation of shared services in Malaysia. This generates demand for multilingual underwriters to support operations in different countries.

With this rise in demand, what can actuarial professionals do on their end to ensure they stand out from the crowd and attract their dream employers?

Work Experience

Many employers prefer a candidate to have some actuarial experience prior to consideration. We highly encourage young graduates to join and gain two to three years of experience in valuation or pricing. 

A work experience placement in insurance can essentially provide you with invaluable insight into the industry. In addition, such work experience allows you to develop client facing skill sets that can help you manage stakeholders in your future transition to a more senior role. 

Technical exposures in operating software also aids in building your skills and making you more employable.  Besides this, work placements also present a great opportunity to network and to build solid connections within the industry. 

Full Actuarial Qualification 

To be successful in finding your ideal actuarial job, you need to have a strong background in general business, math, and statistics. You can have an under graduate degree or a bachelor’s degree related to finance, economics or any business related course. An actuarial science or MORSE degree might provide you with some exemptions from the necessary professional exams.

To become an actuary, you must get accreditation. The two main bodies where you can get accredited are:

  • Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA)
  • Society of Actuaries (SOA covers these specialties-Life Insurance, Retirement, Group Insurance, Health Insurance)

While mathematical ability and financial modelling are indeed central to the skill set required as an actuary, this is only part of the story. Soft skills such as communication and team working are just as important for the modern day actuary. 

General Insurance actuaries are also exposed to ResQ, SQL, SAS, Radar, R and other equivalent software for product pricing. Their skills in such software then allow employers to determine whether they can lead a team in pricing or take on a less senior role.

How can Robert Walters Malaysia help you?

Robert Walters Malaysia is registered with Kementerian Kewangan Malaysia (Ministry of Finance of Malaysia) as a supplier of professional talents and to represent companies, agencies and statutory bodies under the Government of Malaysia. Our large database of reputable local and global corporate clients equips us to provide you with various opportunities to grow your actuary career.

In addition, our specialist consultants understand your needs as many of them are former industry professionals or have specialist recruitment backgrounds. Because we're specialists, we present professionals with in-depth knowledge and exclusive access to the latest employment trends and updates within Malaysia’s actuary industry.  

Offering you a comprehensive understanding of your career goals, our recruitment solutions are tried and tested as seen from our successful track record. 

Please contact Leon Lim, Consultant – Insurance at for an extensive discussion about your career objectives



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