Did you ever, in your wildest dreams, expect to spend your career in the insurance industry? That familiar question, posed to many attendees at various insurance conferences, often draws chuckles from respondents, as they scan the room looking for the few individuals who have sheepishly raised their hands.

Over the years, such has been the typical plight of insurance employees, who face any number of stereotypes—from being boring at parties to their proclivity for driving a station wagon.

Actuaries, individuals who interpret statistics to determine probabilities of accidents, sickness, death, and loss of property from theft and natural disasters, seem to fall prey to this mockery more than other roles within the industry—until now.

According to a poll published on CareerCast.com, actuarial jobs are taking the lead in popularity. The poll, which tests the hiring outlook for a number of occupations, noted that actuarial positions ranked as having the second-lowest physical demands and third-lowest stress levels of all occupations tested.

In releasing their rankings, the site noted that the results play forward to those careers likely to provide a positive experience for a majority of workers, “not just the uniquely talented.”

“Fitting with this goal, actuary ranks no worse than 10th in any measurement category, save one—median income, where it finished 22nd. And even in this case, the job's average high-end income of $161,000 is 11th among all surveyed jobs,” notes the site.

Those in insurance and technology can take heart, however, as the CareerCast site notes that math and science-related professions “continue to rule, with software engineer ranking as the second-best job for 2010.”

With low unemployment compared to the national average and projected job growth of nearly 45% through 2016, a software engineer position currently has the best hiring outlook of any available job in 2010.

“Of course every employee is different, and what you consider a ‘dream job’ might be someone else's idea of a career nightmare,” says Andrew Strieber of CareerCast.com.

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