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Careers FAQs

  • What qualifications do I need to become an actuary?

    Most employers are looking for graduates with at least a 2.1 degree and excellent A-levels or equivalent.

    The minimum requirements for admission as a student of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) are:

    • Maths A-level (or equivalent) at grade B, together with a second A-level (or equivalent) in any subject at grade C, or
    • three Scottish National Qualifications Authority Higher passes, one of which must be in mathematics at grade A, or
    • the Irish Leaving Certificate in at least five subjects; one of the passes must be in mathematics at grade A,
    • or
    • other qualifications which are considered to be equivalent to the above

    For holders of a second class honours degree or above in a non-mathematical subject, the maths A-level requirement is reduced to a grade C

    For holders of a third class honours or above in a mathematical or actuarial science degree, the maths A-level requirement is dropped.

  • What if I don’t meet the entry requirements?

    There is the option to take some exams as a non-member which will give you the option to see if the maths skills and experience you have is enough to take our exams. If you do take and pass the exam, then you will be eligible to become a member of the profession. However, there are a few things to note before you consider this option:

    • most employers look for students with a minimum 2:1 in a numerate degree and A level maths
    • you will be up against students with 1st or 2nd class numerate degrees who will be exempt from several of the IFoA’s exams
    • each company, especially in the recession, will have raised their entry requirements in order to facilitate the huge number of applicants for each position; if you do not meet the basic requirements it may put you at a disadvantage
    • if you speak to an employer and explain that you have/or are thinking of gaining entry to the profession, this may exempt you from some of their entry requirements. However, please note that this cannot be guaranteed: each company will have its own specific entry requirements.  Employers details can be found in the Directory of Employers.
  • How do I choose my university course?

    Most employers prefer candidates with a numerate degree from a university department with a strong reputation. A numerate degree may also lead to exemptions from some of the profession's exams. Actuarial science degrees, in particular, are likely to carry exemptions.

    You could look at the University League Tables for further information on how the universities you are interested in are rated.

  • Will I benefit from studying a degree in actuarial science?

    Several universities offer undergraduate degrees in actuarial science, which offer exemptions from some or all of the Core Principle subjects examinations.

    The advantages of studying for an actuarial science degree are:

    • it gives you the opportunity to find out more about actuarial work before accepting an actuarial trainee role with an employer
    • if you achieve a sufficiently high standard in the appropriate university exams, then you will be recommended for exemption from the corresponding professional exams
    • if you have an actuarial degree you should be able to qualify more quickly than if you take a course which gives fewer exemptions
    • a higher number of exam passes or exemptions may mean that you receive a higher salary (probably staggered and dependent on future exam success)
    • a degree in actuarial science is an excellent grounding in subjects like economics, finance, mathematics, and statistics, as well as the actuarial subjects. This makes actuarial graduates suitable for a range of careers, not just actuarial work.
  • Will I be at a disadvantage if I am not doing an actuarial science degree?

    There are benefits to studying alternative degrees:

    • non-actuarial degrees enable students to study a greater range of subjects
    • non-actuarial degrees may still lead to exemption from some of the Core Principle subjects
    • some employers are less enthusiastic than others about employing actuarial science graduates, so you may wish to seek the views of your favoured employers
    • experience in the office is at least as important as exam passes. Actuarial graduates should not assume that they will necessarily be paid more than other graduates.
  • What about post-graduate degrees?

    Some post-graduate degrees offer exemptions from Core Principle subjects or Specialist Principles.  These have similar advantages to the actuarial science degrees noted above.

  • What exemptions from the professional examinations will I obtain?

    Some undergraduate and postgraduate degrees offer exemptions from all eight of the Core Principle subjects. Some post-graduate degrees offer exemptions from some examinations  and Specialist Principles.  Visit the University courses with exemptions page to find out more.

  • What happens in a graduate placement?

    Once you have obtained a placement within a firm, you will be able to start to work your way through the exams, eventually gaining the necessary work experience for you to qualify as a Fellow of the IFoA.

    Typically employers give you one day off a week to study, although this is at the discretion of each individual employer. You will be given a study mentor who will be able to support you through the exams. Your salary will normally increase when you pass exams and take on more work and responsibility.

  • How long does it take to qualify?

    In order to qualify as an Associate or Fellow, students must pass a number of examinations and complete a satisfactory period of work experience. The time to qualification will depend upon an individual's progress through the examinations, any exemptions obtained and completion of work experience. To qualify as a Fellow takes, on average, 6-7 years.

  • Will I need to continue training once I have qualified?

    Yes, actuaries are required to maintain their competence once qualified through continuing professional development (CPD).

Contact Details

You can contact the Careers team at:

careers@actuaries.org.uk

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, 7th Floor Holborn Gate, 326-330 High Holborn, London WC1V 7PP

We aim to respond to all enquiries within five working days.

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Events calendar

  • Life Conference 2019

    The Convention Centre Dublin, Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1
    20-22 November 2019
    Fully booked.

    The Life Conference is the premier event for professionals interested in life insurance.  Offering a wide range of workshops and plenary sessions it’s the perfect opportunity to discover what’s hot and current in life insurance ensuring you get up to date on the latest thinking and innovation whilst meeting and exchanging ideas with a broad range of professionals.

  • KSS event: Climate change, ESG and what it means for Insurers

    PwC Edinburgh, Atria 1, 144 Morrison St, Edinburgh
    2 December 2019

    Spaces available

    Speaker: Pallavi Konwar

    Pallavi has a background in banking and asset management as well as within government. She started her career at Wall Street in New York, where she worked for Citigroup on mortgage securitisations and collateral analysis. Before joining PwC, she worked within the Infrastructure UK team at HM Treasury. where she was responsible for contributing to the National Infrastructure Plan and reporting on the performance and delivery of nationally significant infrastructure projects.

  • Autumn Lecture 2019, London - Dr Kay Swinburne

    Lincoln's Inn The Treasury Office, London WC2A 3TL
    2 December 2019

    Spaces available

    We are delighted to announce that Dr Kay Swinburne will deliver this year’s lecture, "It’s not all about the numbers – regulatory challenges for UK financial services post-Brexit"

  • SIAS Event: Discount Rates are Flawed

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    3 December 2019

    Spaces available

    This talk will be given by Jon Spain who, as far back as 1983, has been working independently, trying to bring “long-term” back to UK actuarial thinking. His current focus is on discount rates (see discrate.com).

  • A Holistic Study into Cash flow Driven Investment

    Staple Inn, 4 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 6DR, UK
    4 December 2019

    Spaces available

    Given that Cashflow Driven Investment strategy has attracted growing interests from pension funds and insurers at the backdrop of current market conditions and clients’ circumstances, the objective of this event is to gather thought leaders from asset managers, banks and insurers to offer attendees their perspectives and insights on main aspects of consideration when adopting this strategy.

  • Your Actuarial Career: Managing Career Breaks

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    5 December 2019

    Spaces available

    Maternity or paternity leave, sabbaticals to study or travel, managing care responsibilities or escaping unemployment – Join Chika Aghadiuno and a panel of IFoA guests including Liz Drummond, Founder & CEO of Women Ahead (International), and Lee Faulkner, Financial Wellbeing Actuary, First Actuarial, to explore the issues around career breaks from the perspective of an employee and an employer.

  • Sessional Meeting - Silent Cyber Assessment Framework

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    9 December 2019

    Spaces available

    The (re)insurance industry is faced with a growing risk related to the development of information technology (IT). This growth is creating an increasingly digitally interconnected world with more and more dependence being placed on IT systems to manage processes.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (10 December 2019)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ  
    10 December 2019

    Spaces available

    This event will be of interest to students and recently qualified actuaries.

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020.  The content and discussion at this session is particularly tailored to actuarial students and newly qualified actuaries working in any area and the format is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions with your peers.

  • SIAS Event: My Journey to Data Science, Big Data and AI

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    7 January 2020

    Spaces available

    Patrick Lee is an actuary who has made the transition to working in software architecture and artificial intelligence (AI). He holds Microsoft Professional qualifications in Data Science, Big Data and AI and is currently working towards a DevOps (the automation of software testing and deployment) qualification. He is a member of the IFoA Council and is also President of the Wessex Actuarial Society. He is also a member of the IFoA and the RSS's joint Data Science Focus Group and will talk on the ethical use of AI. 

  • Spaces available

    This presentation covers the detail for how the matching adjustment is calculated. A small simple example spreadsheet is provided and discussed in detail.

    For actuaries wanting to get more involved with the matching adjustment, this is the opportunity to get a detailed description of the mechanics involved. This includes cashflows derisking, PRA tests as well as hypothecation.

    The presentation is provided by James Sharpe who has worked on a number of matching adjustment calculations with several firms.

  • IFoA Volunteer Recognition Reception

    Staple Inn, 4 High Holborn, Holborn, London WC1V 6DR, UK
    15 January 2020

    Spaces available

    As a thank you to all our Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) volunteers, you are invited to join us at Staple Inn Hall, for an evening of drinks, canapes and networking, in London.

    IFoA President, John Taylor, will be attending and will make a speech

    If you support the IFoA as a volunteer (member or non-member), or in any other role, and you are going to be in London on 15 January, please book your place and join us at this reception.

     

  • Professional Skills Training - London (16 January 2020)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ
    16 January 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Sessional Meeting - Operational Risk Dependencies

    Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh 9 Queen St Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
    20 January 2020

    Spaces available

    The Operational Risk Working Party aims to assist actuaries and others in the modelling and management of operational risk. One of the key challenges in modelling operational risk is the modelling of dependencies between operational risks, and between operational and non-operational risks such as market, credit and insurance risk. Their paper seeks to assist in this regard, and help develop good practice in setting assumptions and modelling operational risk dependencies. 

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (23 January 2020)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    23 January 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • ARC Sessional Research Event

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    3 February 2020

    Spaces available

    This sessional will be delivered by members of the research team working on the ARC “Big Health & Actuarial Data’ research programme, led by Professor Elena Kulinskaya (University of East Anglia).

  • Professional Skills Training - London (11 February 2020)

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ         
    11 February 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • Sessional: Impact of E-cigarettes Working Party

    Royal College of Physicians, 9 Queen St, Edinburgh EH2 1JQ
    24 February 2020

    Spaces available

    This sessional meeting will be of direct interest to actuaries and others working in the in the Health and Care, Life or Pensions sectors or indeed actuaries with an interest in morbidity or mortality.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (25 February 2020)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    25 February 2020

    Spaces available

    A Trusted Profession

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2019/2020This session is suitable for actuaries working in any area (i.e. it is not specifically aimed at Pensions, GI or any other technical discipline) and is interactive, so you should come along prepared to take part in the discussions.

  • IFoA Asia Conference 2020, Kuala Lumpur

    CCEC Nexus, 7, Jalan Kerinchi, Bangsar South, 59200 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
    24-25 June 2020
    Spaces available

    The sixth annual Asia Conference once again offers a prestigious line-up of home and international speakers discussing the insurance and financial industry’s innovation and change in Asia. This year's conference in Kuala Lumpur will be hosted by Tan Suee Chieh, IFoA’s first Asian President. He will also make his Presidential address at this conference and will expand on the important elements of IFoA’s new strategy. 

    Additionally, this landmark conference will showcase how the IFoA is reinventing itself to support its members to succeed and thrive in a digital age, within traditional businesses and beyond, as a global organisation. 

    No tot be missed by international industry players, opinion formers, academic and industry leaders, actuaries and non-actuaries.