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Graduates with this degree are being headhunted even in the midst of a recession

October 8, 2020

Actuarial Science students Callum Roberts and Nikki Wallis have secured jobs ahead of graduating from Bond University

Actuarial science students are graduating straight into jobs even amid soaring unemployment, confirming it at as one of the hottest post-pandemic degrees.

Actuaries traditionally worked in the insurance industry predicting the risks of making claims payments, or in superannuation calculating anticipated investment returns.

But the masses of data now being collected by almost every business -- and the opportunity to interpret and monetise it -- means actuaries are branching out across a broad spectrum of industries.

The Federal Government's Job Outlook website predicts strong growth for the profession while the Actuaries Institute says senior actuaries can earn more than $300,000 a year.

Bond University is the only accredited university in Queensland offering Bachelor and Masters programs in actuarial science.

Bond student Nikki Wallis will graduate with a Bachelor of Actuarial Science early next year and already has a job lined up with multinational professional services company EY in Melbourne.

"I completed a summer vacation program at EY and a week later received a phone call offering me a graduate position for next year," Ms Wallis said.

"I'm going to be working in the data and analytics team."

Another Bond student, Callum Roberts, is completing a Bachelor of Actuarial Science with Honours.

"I have had several employers get in contact with me, all since COVID-19 started," Mr Roberts said.

"I ended up accepting a role at Auto & General, initially part-time as a pricing intern while I finish my Honours and then moving to full-time work next year as a pricing analyst."

Ms Wallis followed her brother into the profession and both she and Mr Roberts said they enjoyed mathematics at high school.

"I didn't want to go down the traditional route of studying engineering, mathematics or economics and that's why I pursued actuarial science," Mr Roberts said.

"There are plenty of graduate jobs that ask specifically for actuarial students because employers know they possess a great level of financial understanding and have strong analytical skills."

Ms Wallis said she went into her degree thinking it was a niche qualification but two years later she felt equipped for multiple roles and industries. 

"It's a well-rounded degree that prepares you for fields such as data analytics, finance and banking," she said.

"If you are someone who has a passion for maths, coding or business but wants a challenge, actuarial science is for you. It sets you up for so many possibilities."

Both know fellow students who were also headhunted before graduating.

Associate Professor of Statistics at the Bond Business School, Adrian Gepp, said recent graduates were working at Queensland Treasury, Telstra, Queensland Health, RACQ, Westpac and data insights company Quantium, among others.

"We see students -- undergraduates, honours and masters -- being picked up for internships, part-time work or other work experience with top-tier companies," Dr Gepp said.

"This has led to offers of full-time work ahead of their graduation."

Director of the Career Development Centre at Bond University, Kirsty Mitchell, said graduates still needed to perform well academically.

They should also have a track record of work experience such as that required by Beyond Bond, the university’s compulsory professional development program.

“The jobs growth is very clear in technology, data and health, and with a pandemic, all three integrated preferably,” Ms Mitchell said.

“There is so much demand across a broad range of sectors that (actuarial science graduates) have lots of opportunities.”