Over 200 actuaries & actuarial trainees are currently working in Israel. Each year, actuaries from abroad make Aliyah and there are generally positions available to those with the right mix of qualifications & experience.
There are a limited number of companies and organizations that employ actuaries in Israel. The main employers are the insurance companies and the accounting /consulting firms. It is recommended that you contact the senior actuaries in these organizations rather than go through a head-hunter or human resources.
It is advisable to obtain a reasonable level of Hebrew before you begin your job search, as most actuaries work in a Hebrew speaking environment.
After you make Aliyah, you can generally continue to take actuarial exams in Israel through the actuarial organization with which you started. This allows you to continue to write exams in English and not have to retake any.
Note: Without the relevant experience, it’s very challenging to break into this field. Olim securing employment as actuaries in Israel will almost always have some degree of experience from abroad, and/or will have at least started the actuarial exams. Employers would be extremely unlikely to consider someone coming in with neither of these, whatever their other experience may be.
While actuaries in Israel earn much less than their counterparts abroad, their wages are comparable to what Israeli professionals are earning in fields such as accounting and hi-tech. Salaries for part-qualified actuaries making Aliyah with several years’ experience will be in the range of 14,000 – 20,000 NIS a month. Fully qualified actuaries with significant work experience can earn 25,000 to 35,000 NIS a month (or more).
A good working knowledge of Hebrew is essential, and it is strongly advised to take Ulpan upon arrival. Job seekers with Hebrew skills find it easier to enter the job market. Most of the industry has a fairly good command of English, so you will be able to communicate with others during your first years here, however eventually you will need to have a good command of Hebrew.
Thanks to Dan Barron for participating in this interview and to Yossi Sirote for the previous version
Give a brief description of your field
An actuary performs statistical and financial and risk analysis, for insurance companies and pensions.
What is your current position?
I am currently an independent actuarial consultant. I spent 13 years at Harel Insurance where I served as Chief Actuary and Chief Risk Officer.
How did you find your job?
Before I came to Israel, I was already doing some consulting work in Israel. When I made Aliya I continued my consulting work both in Israel and abroad. At the end of my first year in Israel I was approached by Harel to join them.
It is very difficult to get a job from abroad. Most companies are only interested in talking to you after you have made Aliyah. Some actuaries continue to work for their existing employer from a distance after they have made Aliyah. This can be a challenge but actuaries have made it work for a number of years. Usually at some point they transition to local employment.
What experience do you need to get into your field?
In addition to having passed a reasonable portion of the actuarial exams it is useful to have solid actuarial experience at an insurance company or actuarial consulting firm.
What experience do you need to get the position you have?
I was a fully qualified actuary with over 10 years’ experience when I made Aliyah. My Hebrew was good enough so that I take on a management role.
What degree should someone making Aliyah come with in order to break into your field / get a decent position in your field?
Get as near to qualification as possible and accrue some insurance actuarial experience in pricing or valuation.
What is the salary range?
Starting actuarial trainees earn about NIS 10,000 per month. Senior actuaries can earn NIS 25,000 and upwards.
What are the benefits?
Most actuaries get the full range of standard benefits including pension, Keren Hishtalmut, annual bonuses etc. Senior actuaries will generally get a car as well.
Who are the major employers in your field?
Insurance companies, pensions and accounting/consulting firms
What are the upcoming areas of specialty you would recommend?
There generally is a strong demand for casualty actuaries, but there continues to be employment opportunities for life and health actuaries. Pension actuaries will find it more difficult as the nature of pensions is different in Israel.
What is the professional organization (if any) in your field? How can they be contacted and what do they do?
The Israel Association of Actuaries. The Association organizes professional events on a regular basis. This is a good way to network. For contact information see above.
What recommendations can you offer an Oleh looking to work in this field?
You should pass a number of exams and accrue several years of practical experience. However, if you wait too long it may be more difficult to find a position, as senior positions are harder to come by.
Dan Barron can be contacted at email@example.com