How long is average tenure for early career

Not between promotions (eg more responsibility in similar role), but between switching from one role to another very different one. How long is that time period on average in your experience?

How many years is average tenure for early career?
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Backstory here is I went from a group where they expected people to stay in roles for 3-4 years to a place where 2 years seems fine. It seemed to me that staying two years in a role and then switching made you stay on a learning curve for at least half the time.

P&C side here.

IME, some larger companies have very regimented rotation programs, where annual moves are the norm.

In less regimented company environments, moving to a different function every two years is probably a sweet spot. You want the students to get a well-rounded background before they start moving into credentialed roles, but two years gives enough time to learn the basics of a position and put it into practice.

Note that the above only focuses on P&C carrier environments, which is where I’ve spent most of my career. I could speculate on different environments, but that would just be speculation.

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Which companies have annual moves?

2 years is normal while you do rotations.

3-4 years is way too long. Specially early on in your career.

When I was at a point in my career where I paid attention to such things, many years ago, I remember that being a thing at several large companies I looked at. Things may have changed since then. (I’m approaching 20 years at my current employer and an acquired predecessor; over 10 of those years have been WFH, so I’m somewhat out of the loop of students’ perspectives.)

I can see a while ago where the mentality was that you stayed at one company for over a decade, that company might have invested in you by rotating very often. Now people stay shorter times at each company so the investment might need to be less.

Note that I’m asking not what is ideal for an employee’s career, but what actually happens, which is a balance between what is ideal for the company and ideal for the employee.

Never went through a rotation program, thank God, but here our rotations are 1 year x 3, and people tend to stay in their roles about two years at a time. Lots of people settle into roles, too, but for the ambitious, 2-3 years seems about right until a leadership role is achieved.

Does everyone go through this rotation program? If it’s 1 year x 3, how is it people stay in roles about 2 years?

Percentage-wise how many people settle into roles, and how long, vs those who move every 2-3 years?

And does 2-3 years average 2.5?

Rotations aren’t considered roles in that analysis. Rotations are more assigned (with input), and the 2-3 year thing is for post-rotation.

Everyone hired out of college goes through the rotation program. I was an experienced hire from a different industry, so I did not.

I really don’t know everyone in the actuarial department well enough (I started last March, so I’ve met only a few in person) to say proportionally how many move around. People move around less as they advance, generally. But it seems like if you want to be taken seriously, it’s expected you move around to collect experiences in all types of roles. For people with <10 years of experience, it seems very uncommon for people to settle into any role.

I am a role settler, and happily so, because I’m doing the job I love and not just trying to climb up.


I’d say 1-3 years is typical, particularly in larger organizations

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I might have misunderstood the question. I’ve never worked somewhere with a formal rotation program, so I actually assumed this was on average how long to people stay at their first job.

Yes the question is on average how long do people stay before making a lateral move , whether through rotation or other. A promotion (more responsibility with similar group) wouldn’t count. Neither would just doing different stuff within a similar field.

I think you need to be more specific. As in:

Are you in life, non-life, pensions, or investments?

Advice for each is different.

Yeah this is not asking for advice, but what actually happens. You can respond for whatever area you’ve worked in or for the whole actuary population, either is fine.

My first employer was a tiny regional P&C+life company where my job was something of a numeric jack-of-all-trades role. I was there about three years. At the time, I would have said that I was there about three years too long, but looking back, I under-appreciated the place, and the background I got was probably more useful to me than I would have gotten someplace else.

My second employer was a mid-sized P&C company, where I was in a formal actuarial program. I left after two years because of an acquisition. Absent acquisition chaos, I should have been up for rotation around the time of my departure, as that company rotated students in the program every two years.

My third employer was a large P&C carrier, where I finished my exams in my five-year stay. My first position morphed into my second position after two-and-a-half years. That company had a formal rotation program, which I was not really part of. Rotations there were one or two years, depending, although I understand that may no longer be the case.

My fourth employer was a mid-sized P&C carrier. In one sense, I had the same role for about 15 years, although the precise duties changed/evolved enough during that time to keep it interesting over that time.

My current employer is a large P&C carrier that acquired my fourth employer. My current role actually started a bit before the acquisition, and is not strictly an actuarial role. I’ve been in my current position about four years. I’m not in any hurry to move, but I wouldn’t hate for it to evolve into something new in the next couple of years.

There are, however, some work-life balance considerations that kept me in position longer than most folks probably would have for this and my prior job, and some perks that come with my current situation that I’m not in a hurry to give up (pending how things work in the new ‘post-pandemic’ normal)…so I am probably an outlier of any data points you are trying to collect.

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At the height of the battle of Stalingrad, the average life expectancy for the Soviets was one day for a soldier and three days for an officer.

I agree it is common for p&c actuaries to change roles every 1-3 years early in their careers. Probably they change faster at large companies with narrower roles, and slower at smaller places where an actuary might do a bit of everything in a single “role”.

I also think that some promotions really are a change of role. In particular, becoming a manager is a very meaningful change in role, even if the work your are responsible for remains similar.

Yeah but I’m not asking that…