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?

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

University

You can get into this job by doing a degree and then joining an employer training scheme.

Most employers will look for a degree in maths or one that is closely related. For example:

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

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or 3 A levels, including maths for a degree

Apprenticeship

You may be able to start by completing an actuarial technician higher apprenticeship or actuary degree apprenticeship.

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent qualifications, for a higher or a degree apprenticeship

£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.

You may improve your chances of finding a trainee position if you have some work experience in an actuarial department. You can find details about internships and work placements through the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

You may be able to switch to actuarial work from a related profession, like risk management, financial services or business analysis. You would then follow an employer training programme to qualify.

The first step to qualifying as an actuary is to join the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) as a student member, and then study for professional exams whilst working as a trainee actuary.

You'll find more details about careers in the actuarial profession, training and case studies from the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • maths knowledge
  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of economics and accounting
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

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