An actuarial career is a very desirable one and there are many reasons for this. Job security, the ability to work anywhere in the world and the ability to make a real impact on a business, to name but a few.
Another reasons an actuarial career is so desirable is the financial reward that comes with it. Wherever you go in the world, you will find that actuaries are rewarded highly for their efforts.
In this article, we look at whether actuaries are paid as well as everyone thinks, why they are paid well and more reasons you should consider becoming an actuary.
Are actuaries paid well?
The short answer to this question is yes, actuaries are paid very well.
The long answer is that the starting salary for trainee actuaries is higher than the UK average salary and this increases as you become qualified and work your way up the career ladder. In some instances, you could be looking at earning six figures.
How much are trainee actuaries paid?
As of 2019 the starting salary for a graduate on an actuarial graduate scheme is £28,571. Your actual starting salary, should you secure a place on an actuarial graduate scheme, depends on a number of factors including your employer and your location. However, the average starting for a graduate is higher than the starting salary for many UK graduates, which averages at around £21,000 – £25,000.
How much can a senior actuary earn?
As you work your way up the actuarial career ladder and into more senior roles, your salary will increase quite substantially. A Senior Actuarial Analyst could earn around £54,000, and if you become a Manager, then you could earn upward of £68,000.
How much could a Chief Actuary or a Partner earn?
If you want to become a Chief Actuary or a Partner, then you could see yourself earning over £200,000 a year.
Don’t forget that salary isn’t the only perk of being an actuary and depending on your employer, you could also receive multiple benefits including healthcare, a gym membership and life assurance.
How long does it take to become an actuary?
While being an actuary can see you earn a lot of money, it does come at a price. And that price is the commitment and determination to qualify.
To qualify as an Associate and a Fellow; you need to pass several exams as well as achieve a satisfactory level of work-related competencies. How long this takes depends on your progress through the exams, the completion of work experience and any exemptions that you may have obtained.
To become an Actuarial Analyst it will take you on average 2-3 years to complete while you are working, most likely on an actuarial graduate programme. To become a Fellow, it will take another few years on top of that, taking you a total of around 6-7 years to qualify overall.
Once you have qualified, the hard work doesn’t end. You will have to continue your training through professional skills training as per your membership to the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries.
Why are actuaries so well paid?
We know that actuaries are paid well for the work they do, but why are they so well paid?
There is no real answer to this question; but there are a few reasons why actuaries enjoy a high financial reward.
One of those reasons is that there aren’t that many actuaries about, but they are always needed. It is a very small industry in comparison to other financial industries, such accountancy; it is more specialised than other financial service industries such as insurance and pensions. A consistent demand with a small industry mean that actuaries enjoy a high salary.
Actuaries are essential in the world of insurance, and are highly skilled at analysing risk, and there aren’t many other people who can do what actuaries do, and contribute what they can to an industry. This means that naturally, they receive a good salary for this expertise.
Why should you become an actuary?
Apart from financial reward, what are the other reasons you may want to become an actuary?
- Job security
- As we have already said, an actuarial career is a stable one. Society will always need pensions and insurance, which means that we will always need actuaries.
- Excellent study support and training
- On average, you will spend between 15 and 20 hours a week studying for your qualification; however your employer will give you generous help and support to achieve your qualification. This could include paid study leave, covering the cost of external tuition and exam costs or a mentorship scheme.
- A wide range of opportunities
- Actuaries are found in a range of industries now, including life assurance, insurance, pensions and professional services. You could find yourself working for an insurance company, a consultancy firm or even the government.
- Intellectual challenge
- One of the key benefits of being an actuary is the intellectual challenge that comes with it. You will face real life problems every day; and will have to use your analytical thinking to solve complicated financial problems.
When it comes to the question, are actuaries paid well, the answer is yes, they are. But this comes at a cost of years of qualification after your degree; and the time and dedication to work your way up the career ladder. However, the financial reward and job satisfaction is worth it for many.