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Actuary Profile

Actuary Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as an Actuary. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as an Actuary
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Actuary Work Information
  • Finding Suitable Work

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    Working Duties Expected

    Actuaries aim to make financial sense of the future. They do this by advising on the possible financial results of projects that are being planned. Their work involves:

    analysing what has happened in the past
    predicting what different things could happen in the future
    assessing the risks involved in those things that could happen
    explaining to senior managers what the results would mean in financial terms.

    Actuaries use their expertise in maths, statistics, economics, law, marketing and accounting. They also use computers a great deal in their work.

    Actuaries work in offices. They work normal office hours but often have to work beyond those times.

    Starting salaries for graduates are between £19,000 and £24,000 a year. A newly-qualified actuary will earn at least £44,000, and this can rise to well over £100,000 a year for a senior manager in a large company.

    An actuary should:

    be very strong in maths and statistics
    be good at analysing information
    be able to explain complicated information clearly.
    It can be possible to become an actuary with A levels/H grades. Most entrants, though, have a degree, often in a subject such as maths, actuarial science, economics, statistics or physics. Training combines work with part-time study for the examinations of the Institute of Actuaries or the Faculty of Actuaries. It usually takes five or six years to qualify.

    Most actuaries start by working for a life assurance or consultancy company. There are also opportunities with general insurance companies, banks, industrial and commercial companies and the Government Actuary's Department.

    Actuaries can become managers, partners in consultancy firms or senior executives of companies.

    What does the role encounter?

    The job of actuaries is to make financial sense of the future. They help the financial world and governments to evaluate the long-term financial implications of their decisions. This involves actuaries using mathematical and statistical expertise and knowledge, as well as economics, business law and practices, marketing and accounting.

    Actuaries’ work includes:

    analysing the past, eg accident rates for particular groups of people, cars or aeroplanes
    modelling the future, eg predicting the effects of different life expectancies on the investments required for funding pensions
    assessing the risks involved, eg the chances that an earthquake will occur in a particular area causing damage worth millions of pounds
    explaining to senior managers and directors what the results mean in financial terms.

    Actuaries have traditionally been concerned mainly with life assurance and pensions but are increasingly involved in assessing risks associated with areas such as general insurance, investment and healthcare. Their analysis plays a vital role in their organisation's business decisions - eg what rates to apply for insurance policies to be profitable but still competitive. In insurance companies actuaries calculate the funds needed to cover the firm’s long-term liabilities.

    Many actuaries work for consultancies that advise organisations on various financial activities that have a degree of risk, especially occupational pension schemes.

    In the Government Actuary's Department, they advise other departments on matters such as social insurance, state pensions and public sector pensions.

    Actuaries use computers to analyse and build statistical and mathematical models to predict the financial outcomes of different scenarios. They liaise with a variety of people, including accountants, solicitors, company secretaries, underwriters and investment managers.

    Actuaries who are graduates start on between £19,000 and £24,000 a year.

    What hours will I have to work?

    Actuaries work normal office hours but often have to work beyond those times. Those working in consultancy tend to have to work more flexibly, in order to meet clients’ demands.

    This can sometimes include weekend work. Part-time work as an actuary is possible.

    Much of the study for professional examinations has to be done during evenings and weekends.

    Actuaries work indoors in offices. They are sitting for much of the time. Consulting actuaries have to travel between clients.

    What level of salary/benefits can I expect?

    These figures are only a guide.

    Graduates start on between £19,000 and £24,000 a year.

    Newly-qualified actuaries earn between £44,000 and £63,000 a year.

    Senior managers in large companies can earn well over £100,000 a year.

    Actuaries in the private sector usually receive other benefits, such as non-contributory pensions, free health insurance, low interest loans, company cars and annual bonuses.

    What type of skills will I need?

    An actuary should:

    have excellent maths and statistics skills
    have an aptitude for analysing data

    have strong verbal and written communication skills in order to explain complex information clearly and concisely

    be able to solve problems both logically and creatively

    have information technology skills

    have good commercial sense

    be able to work alone and as part of a team
    have the ability to manage staff
    be motivated and determined to cope with the study for professional examinations while working.

    Career Progression:

    Actuaries can move between different specialist actuarial areas. Promotion is possible in larger companies to management positions and then to senior executive or director level. It can be possible to become a partner in a consultancy firm.

    There are excellent opportunities for UK actuaries to work overseas. Opportunities for self-employment are limited.

    Further information can be found at:

    The Actuarial Profession (Faculty of Actuaries), Maclaurin House, 18 Dublin Street, Edinburgh EH1 3PP. 0131 240 1300. Website:

    The Actuarial Profession (Institute of Actuaries), Napier House, 4 Worcester Street, Oxford OX1 2AW. 01865 268200. Website:

    Government Actuary's Department, Finlaison House, 15-17 Furnival Street, London EC4A 1AB. 020 7211 2600/2601. Website:

    Similar types of job roles & industries:

    Accounting Technician
    Industry and Commerce Accountant
    Insurance Broker
    Insurance Broker Consultant
    Insurance Claims Settler/Manager
    Insurance Loss Adjuster
    Insurance Underwriter
    Investment/Merchant Banker
    Operational Researcher
    Pensions Administrator
    Public Sector Accountant
    Stock Exchange Dealer/Trader
    Stock Exchange Investment Analyst.

    The accountancy profession carries a wide and varied selection of different job roles. Here are some examples of related job positions in the accountancy sector:

    • Analyst
    • Auditor
    • Company Secretary
    • Cost Accountant
    • Director
    • Finance Manager
    • Financial Controller
    • Forensic Accountant
    • Interim Manager
    • Life Accountant
    • Management Accountant
    • Practice Manager
    • Practice Partner
    • Project Accountant
    • Syndicate Accountant
    • Systems Accountant
    • Tax Accountant
    • Trust Accountant
    • Accounts Admin
    • Assistant Accountant
    • Credit Controller
    • Graduate Trainee
    • Ledger Clerk
    • Legal Cashier
    • Part Qualified
    • Accounts Payroller
    • Practice Accountant.

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