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How is the job market in actuarial fields? Is it competitive? How difficult is it to find actuarial job as a non-Australian citizen?
So, is it hard to get an entry-level actuarial job?

The entry-level actuarial job market in Canada and the U.S. is fairly competitive right now. For many, it's hard to find a job but there are things you can do to improve your chances. Getting an actuarial internship, for one, will help substantially.

Now, let's talk about why this is, and how you can make yourself stand out.

Why is the job market competitive?
More and more people are becoming aware of the actuarial career path. It provides a great annual salary, low stress, and a good work-life balance (once you're fully qualified). It's also a very mathematical career that offers challenging and fulfilling day-to-day work.

So, because of all that, and that fact that it's often ranked as a top career choice, more people have decided to pursue it.

The problem is that the rate that new entry-level actuarial jobs are opening up is much slower than the rate that new people are pursuing the career. Hence, we're left with lots of candidates, but far fewer jobs.

In Canada, the job market is even more competitive than in the U.S.

Current Entry-Level Standard
Right now, in late 2018, most entry-level actuarial applicants have a bachelor's degree and have passed anywhere from 1 - 3 exams.

The U.S. candidates with the best chance of getting hired have at least 2 exams passed, some technical experience, and at least one actuarial internship.

But, the majority of candidates don't have an actuarial internship or any experience working in an office. They often don't have much on-the-job experience with programs like Excel either. These kind of things are highly valuable to an actuarial employer though.

Like I mentioned above, the job market in Canada is more competitive than in the U.S. Most good candidates have 3-5 exams passed and often have multiple actuarial internships (or co-ops as they're often called in Canada).

How to be Competitive
If you start working towards an actuarial career and take the proper steps early on, you can put yourself in a very good position for getting an entry-level job.

Most people think that they need to immediately jump into an actuarial job, but oftentimes that doesn't work.

It's far more likely that you're going to need to get experience in a related job first before being able to land a job as an actuary. That's why it's a good idea to get a related job early on, while you're still writing your first few exams.

While you're in that related job (more on that below), you can simultaneously get experience and pass 2-3 exams. Then after 1.5 to 2 years you'll be well qualified for an actuarial position. Ideally, that "related job" will also require you to use Excel.

If you can get on-the-job experience using Excel and a programming language like VBA (Excel's programming language) then you'll be well ahead of most other candidates.

If you're still in school, then actuarial internships are the best way to get experience early on. But, if you can't find an actuarial internship then look for internships in a related field.

Lastly, to give yourself the best chance of getting a job, you should be flexible in where you look for them. Not only the industry (life insurance, property insurance, retirement benefits, etc) but also the location. If you're willing to move (possibly temporarily) to get an entry-level job it will greatly improve your chances of finding one.
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