February 25

An Actuarial Specialist’s Journey to Find a Job During the Pandemic

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My name is Venekai Marongwe - a nearly qualified actuary with over 5 years of consulting experience. I work in the General Insurance reserving space. I am also a council member of the Actuarial Society of Zimbabwe. This is a short recount of my journey to landing an Actuarial Analyst role in South Africa. 

I have been in the market for a new actuarial role since February of 2020. In the beginning I put out a few feelers here and there, however the first Lockdown shut it all down.

In October of 2020 things started opening up and I decided to uproot my life and relocate to South Africa from Zimbabwe in the hopes that the job search would be smoother. How could it not since I had seen anything between 2 and 8 new actuarial jobs in South Africa advertised on LinkedIn every day?

Armed with my Critical Skills Visa and a killer set of tailored CVs, I responded to every advert and applied to every job. It wasn't long before reality set in - I was going nowhere fast and rejections were pouring in left, right and centre!

As luck would have it, I attended an Actuarial Women's Committee breakfast event where Marjorie Ngwenya was the guest speaker. At this event, I met Roshael Hoosen from Paton Personnel in one of the breakaway rooms. The aim of the breakaway rooms was for people to get to know each other and describe the way they felt in a colour.

I wanted to say nice things about the way I felt but I ended up revealing my true feeling about my fruitless job search instead. Roshael heard my problem and we connected! Our first chat was a long phone call (more of a therapy session!). In that call we agreed on two things: firstly, we would co-ordinate our efforts in applying for positions and secondly, the serial applications leading to serial rejections had to stop.

Within a week, she had lined up 2 positions for me to consider! After 3 rounds of interviews and a competence test, I virtually signed on the dotted line. That's not even the best part, I received an offer more than 20% higher than my initial expectation!

Roshael's support throughout this process has been invaluable. We had a few technical conversations where I could have sworn, she was ready to write SP7 with me. Her interview prep sessions really helped put me in the right headspace for each stage of the interviews. She is thorough and has a really deep appreciation of the insurance industry for which she recruits.

On Friday 29 January 2021, I went to visit the Paton Personnel offices to complete biometrics for my police clearance. All the staff were friendly and professional. I was glad to interact with Vrindha Naidoo and Winnet Chikunguru. After my fingerprints were taken, Roshael treated me to brunch where we had a great chat and in-person prep for the next interview.

That personal touch, the empathy, and the patience is why I would recommend Roshael and Paton Personnel to all my connections. Thank you for taking a chance on me.

Contact Paton Personnel today – call 011 325 5400 or email [email protected] Let our expert recruitment consultants find the perfect role for you.


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