Actuaries: an offshorable occupation?

During my Easter dinner, my friends and I were talking about why an actuary's billing rate was so high. We were joking about opening a shop in China and bid the valuation project for less than half of what it is charged right now. Who knows, what a coincidence, I just found this WSJ article on March 28 at SmartLemming. (It's not breaking news anymore, since it's been more than a week old.)

If you look at the list, you can see that actuaries are one of the most highly vulnerable occupation to be off shored. (Indeed, I know it is happening right now. But then again, when you interview for an first actuarial job, the companies won't tell you about it.) So what makes actuaries became offshorable? I don't have a concrete answer right now. However, from the article, Blinder offered a good starting point to ponder.

He said, "the most important divide is not, as commonly argued, between jobs that require a lot of education and those that don't. It's not simply that skilled jobs stay in the US and lesser-skilled jobs go to India or China. The important distinction is between services that must be done in the U.S."

He also had a good point on education. He said, "It isn't how many years one spends in school that will matter, it's choosing to learn the skills for jobs that cannot easily be delivered electronically from afar."

Also check out Lori's post- she had some really good suggestions on dealing with the "worst case scenario".


Ryan said...

The number-crunchings aspects of the actuarial profession are certainly "offshoreable", but I can hardly conceive of a less easily outsourced function in this world than the communication of what those numbers mean to management. Don't believe everything you read...

Christen said...

I'd also like to point out that my future career is "high offshorable" as well. maybe i'll learn chinese and go to asia with you! I can translate when you do actuary stuff with Francophone and Spanish-speaking countries!