School of Thought

Oh, do we have thoughts

Empowering Black Actuaries

Diversity and inclusion have become increasingly critical topics in our social fabric over the past decade. Now, more than ever, companies are discovering the value in policies that recruit and retain more diverse candidates to grow their businesses.

Not only has this improved their ability to compete on a global scale, but it’s also boosted corporate cultural competency, purpose and performance.

Clients Inspire Diversity

According to a 2017 study by Deloitte, over two-thirds of executives rated ‘diversity and inclusion’ as a significant issue within their company—an increase of 59 percent up from 2014.
With this, executives have gradually looked to build more integrated work environments where employees feel welcome and supported.

This is especially important when on-boarding employees of different backgrounds, race or ethnicities who generally lack equal access to opportunities.

Milliman, a long-standing client, has been working with The International Association of Black Actuaries (IABA), a non-profit that connects black actuarial professionals and students from all over the world, to help bridge that gap. With such low enrollments from African American students in the actuarial sciences field, IABA’s goal has been to attract and mentor a larger pool of candidates for future employment opportunities.

This past year, IABA released Diversity and Inclusion: Five Barriers Revealed, a report highlighting some reasons for this. For one, there is a lack of black mentors who can serve as role models to increase students’ confidence and potential to pursue jobs in the field. Similarly, in our videos, attendees discuss the impact of the Boot Camp and how it’s been instrumental in connecting them with the right people and preparing them for a career in the actuarial sciences.

Many of them met their future coworkers and employers through these same programs. Over the course of the week-long IABA Boot Camp, a cohort of participants network with other black actuaries and receive training in public speaking, database software management, career planning, resume workshops and mock interviews.

The Data Behind Actuarial Science

You might be wondering, “what does an actuary even do?” Actuaries are in charge of crunching data to inform risk assessments that impact public policy. Their work determines the parameters of many of the social benefits we enjoy today, such as financial services, healthcare access, property and casualty loss, life insurance and workplace advantages.
Actuaries also determine the probability of future events to occur, such as accidents or natural disasters. By evaluating risk and opportunity, they are able to advise decision-makers across government sectors and insurance agencies on ways of reducing adverse financial impact.

African Americans still make up only about seven percent of professionals in the STEM fields, according to a 2016 study by Georgetown University. The National Science Foundation also regularly shares statistics on race, gender, and disability representation that further explain the STEM gap. Recently, it reported that 49 percent of scientists and engineers are white men, while African American men and women only make up three and two percent of all scientists respectively.

Why We Care?

At School of Thought, we feel a major part of any company is to offer up fresh perspectives that help their business stay progressive and effectual in our modern society. Bringing on staff with varied personal histories and atypical viewpoints will only further help them stay relevant and prosperous going forward.

Our mission is to capture work that inspires other businesses to think more strategically about how they can foster a more inclusive workplace and improve their internal diversity efforts to attract stronger candidates. We believe businesses should take stock in their staff and encourage growth at all levels. This, in part, means listening to and offering opportunities to those who might not otherwise have them.

To learn more about the program we worked with, you can visit the IABA website. You can also find more School of Thought full-length videos here.