17%. 9%. 2%. These numbers, often cited by Organization of Latino Actuaries (OLA) President Alejandro Ortega, represent the percent of the US population who are Latino, the percent of STEM graduates who are Latino, and the percent of newly credentialed actuaries who are Latino, respectively. Clearly, the actuarial profession has a representation problem, and OLA, which was founded in 2017, was created, in part, to fix it.
The numbers indicate that the actuarial profession lacks a pipeline of Latino students. OLA’s approach to tackling this problem is three-fold: provide practical advice to Latino students who are actively pursuing the profession, offer resources to connect Latinos with actuaries and actuarial recruiters, and promote the profession to Latino high school students.
A contributing factor to the low number of Latino newly credentialed actuaries could be an unawareness of the “road map” one must follow to land an entry-level actuarial position: maintain a high GPA, pass an exam or two, and have an actuarial internship. OLA volunteers have advised students to take exams early and to apply for actuarial internships. Not only do volunteers provide advice and mentorship, but also they edit resumes, conduct mock interviews, and help Latino applicants expand their professional network. In other words, OLA gives Latinos the tools to land the interviews that so many actuarial hopefuls covet.
In this modern actuarial landscape, having a great resume is often not enough. Some employers receive hundreds of applications for a small number of spots. With these odds, networking for an actuarial position is almost mandatory. The population that OLA supports, however, does not typically have access to this type professional network. OLA helps bridge this gap by connecting Latinos to actuarial professionals via travel scholarships. Specifically, OLA sponsors students to attend CAS and SOA meetings as well as the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA) convention.
This past August, OLA, with help from Northwestern Mutual, sponsored seven students and a recent graduate to attend the ALPFA convention in Las Vegas, NV. OLA members networked with representatives from various insurance companies, including attending a mixer hosted by Northwestern Mutual, interviewed for actuarial positions, and in some cases left convention with an internship offer. Not only does the ALPFA convention give Latinos access to recruiters early in the recruiting cycle, but also it provides them the opportunity to land an internship before the school year even starts. OLA is incredibly proud of the actuarial students who attended and hopes to sponsor even more Latinos to attend next year’s convention in Nashville, TN.
With these efforts, the representation of Latinos in the actuarial profession is sure to improve.
To learn more about OLA and/or to connect with a Latino actuary, please email LatinoActuaries@gmail.com.