Throughout the years actuaries have always been considered to be one of the best careers in the world according to various sources. In their annual reports, CareerCast conducted studies that gathered data from the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, the Census Bureau, trade association studies, and other sources and looked into the different types of careers and their work environments. These were ranked by stress, income, physical and emotional demands and hiring perspectives, and being an actuary rated the highest in 2013 and top 10 in recent years. Tony Lee, a publisher at CareerCast noted that mathematical jobs ‘rank among the nation’s best jobs because they are financially lucrative, offer abundant opportunities for advancement, and provide the opportunity to do great work in a supportive environment’.
In CareerCast’s 2019 report, actuarial careers were seen to have very good work environments and low stress levels. Also, with excellent growth prospects and an average pay of $102,880 (£78,214) a year, it’s no wonder that this career path has been in the top ten for quite some time. Here we look into the six key features of an actuarial role to figure out why actuaries are happy in their careers.
Let’s face it when it comes to being happy at work, your salary does contribute to that happiness and with actuaries having a high earning potential around the world, that’s definitely not a downside. Actuaries in the UK and worldwide earn well depending on their skill level and area of work. An average starting salary in the UK for graduates falls between £25-£35k a year which is higher than other industries at that level. Salary expectations depend on the area you work in and level of experience. So, for newly qualified actuaries in insurance companies, you’re looking at £40-55k and for those who have 10-15 years under their belt can enjoy an average £60k a year with excellent benefits packages. Some senior directors can even earn an excess of £200k, so earning potential is definitely not an issue as you grow in your actuarial career.
Speaking about growth, another reason actuaries are happy in their jobs could be the potential growth in their careers. In CareerCast’s report, it was shown that an actuarial career has a growth outlook of 22% by 2026 and according to the US Bureau of Labour Statistics, employment opportunities for actuaries will increase much faster than the average rate in the next 10 years. Also, new actuaries in the making are expected to continue their training alongside employment so there are also new training opportunities and ways to continue learning and developing your skills in an actuarial career. With the continued sense of learning and growth in this field and the support from employers, it’s easy to see why actuaries are happy in their jobs.
Contrary to other jobs in finance, working as an actuary can be quite rewarding socially as depending on the company and area of work, actuaries need to interact with various types of people such as accountants, lawyers, CEO’s, executives and even other actuaries. Also, many actuarial analysts work with various clients and it can be interesting getting to know their needs and situations and working on different cases.
A great part of be an actuary is working with businesses and clients to solve a wide range of high-level problems in all types of industries. This can include analysing the types of vehicles and situations are more likely to cause accidents or the risk of using certain types of material on buildings depending on the region, to also designing pension schemes which can affect a huge amount of people. The decisions an actuary makes can have an impact on people’s lives in a positive way and this can contribute to their happiness because their work matters and is important in society.
Challenge your brain
Working as an actuary means that you have the chance to continue to challenge your intellect on your job and with challenge comes growth. Some actuaries have said that they enjoy applying their mathematical knowledge in a real world setting, and there are many opportunities to do this whilst being an actuary. Actuaries are always faced with intellectually challenging problems and to strive in this field, you will need to have excellent analytical thinking, have commercial awareness and the ability to understand and then solve complicated financial issues. A job that allows you to exercise those brain skills will definitely not be boring as you will be working with real life scenarios whilst trying to interpret and communication complex information in a clear way to your clients.
Vast opportunities and job security
With the rise of environmental and technological issues around the world, there is more of a need for insurance and with that there’s a demand for actuaries – making it a stable career choice for the long term despite the changes in the economy and technology. In fact, with these changes, not only is there stability but also a wide range of opportunities to work for new types of non-traditional roles such as being an actuarial consultant, as well as being able to work internationally if you have a UK actuarial qualification, which is highly valued worldwide.
As you have read here being an actuary can be an extremely rewarding and dynamic job so it’s clear why it is always ranked one of the top 10 best jobs and why actuaries are happy in their careers!
Want to pursue a career in actuary? Check out our careers advice for more information on how to become an actuary.