If you’re a whizz with numbers, an innovative thinker and a skilful problem solver, a career as an actuary could be the perfect fit for you.

An actuary analyses past and present data in order to solve real business problems. Much of an actuary’s work is about risk management; they predict and measure emerging risks and then help reduce them by putting financial safeguards in place.

Actuaries have a deep understanding of how businesses operate; they have to keep up to date with legislative changes, long-term demographic trends and have general commercial and economic awareness. Depending on where they work, an actuary could be involved in determining the cost of insurance premiums, advising a company on their pensions plans or managing financial assets and liabilities.

You will develop the ability to give expert advice to actuaries and non-actuaries alike. Becoming an actuary will involve dealing with those not in the profession and with the general public, so the ability to communicate and articulate complex topics to non-specialists is of paramount importance.

Entry requirements

The actuarial profession demands a high level of academic attainment. The traditional route into a career as an actuary is to achieve a Maths A-level at grade B or equivalent and a 2:1 in a numerical undergraduate degree or equivalent. However, Actuarial School Leavers Schemes are becoming a popular route into the profession. In this case, employers would typically require 5 GSCE’s at grades A*-C, including a grade B in Maths (or a grade 6 if you have taken your GSCE’s in 2017 or later).

How do you become a qualified actuary?

The actuarial profession attracts some of the brightest, creative and most ambitious candidates – all of which are necessary qualities both before and after your qualification. Actuaries must complete at least three years’ of practical experience alongside professional exams. A lot of actuarial firms support trainees by covering the cost of exams and study.

Expert Domains

The traditional areas in which actuaries operate are:

  • Consultancy
  • Investment
  • Life and general insurance
  • Pensions

Actuaries are also increasingly moving into other areas of the financial sector. These areas include risk management, banking and capital project management, where their analytical skills can be employed.

What next?

If you have found this overview of the actuarial profession interesting, then take a look at the seven reasons why we think you should become an actuary. 

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