Finance & accounting

Actuary

Actuaries work with companies and government departments, to help them forecast long-term financial costs and investment risks.

Annual Salary

£30,000 to £70,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588 (source Office for Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40

What's it all about?

You could work in:

  • life assurance, insurance or pensions, designing policies
  • consultancy, advising clients on financial risk
  • the Government Actuary's Department, advising on the cost of welfare and healthcare

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • analysing statistics
  • forecasting finances
  • testing financial options
  • assessing risks
  • using computers to build mathematical and statistical models
  • explaining findings to managers, government ministers or business clients

You’ll need to join the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) as a student member. You’ll then study for professional exams while you work as a trainee actuary.

To join the IFoA you'll usually need a degree in maths or a related subject, like:

  • actuarial science
  • economics
  • physics
  • engineering
  • accounting
  • statistics

Experience in an actuarial department could help you find a trainee position.

You could also enter this career from a related profession, like risk management, financial services or business analysis.

The IFoA has more information on how to become an actuary.

£30,000 to £70,000

Starter salary: £30,000 to £36,000 (student actuary)

Experienced salary: £50,000

These figures are a guide.

35 to 40

You'll usually work 35 to 40 hours, Monday to Friday. Trainee actuaries usually spend around 15 hours a week studying while working.

You'll work in an office, but you'll often need to travel to visit your clients, sometimes overseas.

With experience, you could become a department manager and then a partner with a financial firm.

You could also specialise in a particular field, like life insurance or healthcare, or move into consultancy work, accountancy or banking.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • skills in maths and statistics
  • the ability to research, analyse and interpret data
  • excellent communication and presentation skills
  • problem-solving skills
  • IT skills

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