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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

  • KSS event – The Future of the Actuarial Profession with Alan Watson (Glasgow)

    Mercer, 5 George Square, Glasgow G2 1AR
    17 September 2019

    Fully booked.

    This event is now fully booked 

    This KSS talk will explore how the Actuarial Profession is changing by looking at the past, the current and the future; considering what will be the key issues impacting the Profession over the next 20 years and why this will be different from today. Why will areas like data science be important?  What does the future hold for reserved roles? What impact will the Profession have on other professionals?  And much more!

  • KSS event – The Future of the Actuarial Profession with Alan Watson

    Willis Towers Watson 2 Lochrin Square, 96 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QA
    23 September 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk will explore how the Actuarial Profession is changing by looking at the past, the current and the future; considering what will be the key issues impacting the Profession over the next 20 years and why this will be different from today. Why will areas like data science be important?  What does the future hold for reserved roles? What impact will the Profession have on other professionals?  And much more!

  • GIRO Conference 2019

    EICC, The Exchange, 150 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EE
    24-26 September 2019
    Spaces available

    GRIO 2019

  • Career Event - Count Me In, Edinburgh

    Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, EH14 4AS
    2 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The event is aimed at school age young people from diverse background to encourage then into the profession.

    Join us and leading actuarial employers at our free Count Me In STEM careers event in London.  Find out more about a range of rewarding careers in actuarial science and how we are supporting and promoting diversity in the profession.

  • The Future of the Actuarial Profession

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

    Fully booked.

     

    Three actuaries – and CEOs – discuss their views on how the business world is changing and what that might mean for actuaries in the future.

  • Spaces available

    Have you ever thought about working in wider fields? Would you like to play a role in the fight against climate change to make the planet better? 

    It can be difficult to do this - but seeing an example you can follow can make it more realistic. In this ‘green’ case study a template is outlined to show how actuaries can apply their skills more broadly - and in doing so, to make a difference.

  • RSS/IFoA Data Science Ethics: the role of practitioners

    Royal Statistical Society, 12 Errol St, London EC1Y 8LX
    7 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and the Royal Statistical Society have worked together to develop joint ethics guidance on data science. This is the culmination of an 18 month programme of practitioner led work. 
     
    Join us for the launch of this new guidance, with a high-level panel discussion which will explore the role of data science practitioners and professional bodies in data ethics. 

  • SIAS Event: AGM and talk on a Monetary Approach to Economics

    Staple Inn Hall. High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    8 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The SIAS Annual General Meeting will commence at 5.45pm and be followed by a talk given by the well known economist and author, Steve Keen, at 6pm. A live webinar will be available. 

  • Career Event - Count Me In

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    10 October 2019

    Spaces available

    This event is aimed at school age young people to encourage then into the profession

    Join us and leading actuarial employers at our free Count Me In STEM careers event in London.  Find out more about a range of rewarding careers in actuarial science and how we are supporting and promoting diversity in the profession.

  • KSS Event – GAD: the 100 year life (Edinburgh)

    KPMG  Saltire Court 20 Castle Terrace Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    22 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) marks its centenary this year. George Russell, formerly Deputy Government Actuary, who currently heads up GAD’s Edinburgh office, leading on GAD support to the devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland, will outline GAD’s development over that period and its range of work today. Having just “celebrated” his 25th anniversary of joining GAD, George will also reflect on some of the challenges and opportunities of advising at the interface of the actuarial and the political worlds.

  • KSS Event – Equity Release Mortgages: The Irish Experience

    Room CM S.01 (Second floor, Colin Maclaurin Building, building 22 on the campus map.) Campus maps can be found at https://www.hw.ac.uk/uk/edinburgh/map.htm
    23 October 2019

    Spaces available

    This is a co-branded KSS/Heriot-Watt University event.  Equity release mortgages (ERMs), also called lifetime mortgages, have played an increasing role in generating income for retired home-owners.  As new liquidity rules have reduced the supply of bank lending, so insurers have stepped in, encouraged by generous regulatory treatment for annuity writers.

  • KSS event – GAD: the 100 year life (Glasgow)

    Barnett Waddingham 163 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 2JJ
    24 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The Government Actuary’s Department (GAD) marks its centenary this year. George Russell, formerly Deputy Government Actuary, who currently heads up GAD’s Edinburgh office, leading on GAD support to the devolved administrations in Scotland and Northern Ireland, will outline GAD’s development over that period and its range of work today. Having just “celebrated” his 25th anniversary of joining GAD, George will also reflect on some of the challenges and opportunities of advising at the interface of the actuarial and the political worlds.

  • Sessional Meeting - Autonomous Vehicles and impacts on the wider insurance industry

    Staple Inn, High Holborn, London WC1V 7QJ         
    28 October 2019

    Spaces available

    The Sessional Meeting is now fully booked.

    Please click here to register on the waiting list.

     

    The Institute and Faculty of Actuaries is running a sessional meeting on autonomous vehicles on 28th October.  The session will showcase the work of the IFoA “Autonomous Vehicles” working party alongside a number of expert external presenters. 

  • ARC Event: Beyond Proportional Hazards

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    30 October 2019

    Spaces available

    ARC Event: Beyond Proportional Hazards: Statistical methods for assessment of the impact of medical advances and health interventions on longevity and population projections.

    This workshop is being delivered by the Actuarial Research Centre’s (ARC) ‘Big Health and Actuarial Data’ Research Programme.

  • Hot Topics in Health and Care: Networking and Drinks

    Staple Inn, 4 High Holborn, London WC1V 6DR
    4 November 2019

    Spaces available

    This evening will feature two new cases studies that highlight the implications for insurers of issues impacting on health and mortality for life, pensions, and health and care products; Impactability modelling: a worked example in Type II diabetes presented by Josephine Robertson, and Seasonal Mortality in England and Wales 1993-2016 presented by Mary Hall, Dublin City University.

  • SIAS Event: Introduction to the Mortality Research Steering Committee (MRSC)

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

    Spaces available

    The MRSC is responsible for guiding the profession’s research in the areas of longevity, mortality and morbidity such that it is recognised as a thought leader in this area. It has recently been reviewing what the priorities and have identified 6 areas that we believe are the most important areas of research that should be the current focus and these are:

  • IFoA CPD Co-ordinators' Briefing

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    7 November 2019

    Spaces available

    The theme of this year’s annual briefing is: Lifelong Learning – providing continuous development for our members.

    This event is primarily for volunteer CPD Co-ordinators, who attend to represent their organisation. CPD Co-ordinators play a key role in effective engagement between organisations who employ our members and the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFOA).

  • The challenges for AI in Autonomous driving – Professor Andrew Blake

    Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 11 Queen Street, Edinburgh, EH2 1JQ
    11 November 2019

    Spaces available

    In conjunction with the Scottish Board and supporting the IFoA’s focus on data science.

    The IFoA’s Scottish Board have arranged for UK pioneer in Computer Vision and Machine Intelligence, Professor Andrew Blake to speak to delegates on the subject of AI in Autonomous driving. This lecture will focus on safety-critical operation and the computation of risk.  

  • Autumn Pension Seminar

    Grand Connaught Rooms, 61-65 Great Queen St, Holborn, London WC2B 5DA
    13 November 2019

    Spaces available

    Join us for this brand new seminar that brings together our Current Issues in Pensions, Pensions and the Law, and Investment for Pension Actuaries events. The seminar builds on the IFoA’s Annual Pension Conference with sessions covering CDC, TPR’s code of practice, investments, legal updates and Professional Skills Training with a focus on interactive discussion throughout.

  • KSS event: How is Scotland’s population changing and what are the implications?

    Barnett Waddingham, 163 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 2JJ
    14 November 2019

    Spaces available

    The National Records of Scotland (NRS) collects, preserves and produces information about Scotland's people and history to inform current and future generations - work that underpins the fabric of Scottish society and tells the story of our nation. This KSS talk will explore the following and other areas impacting Scotland’s changing population, and assess the potential implications of the changes:

    • population statistics
    • life expectancy
    • changes in age structure
    • birth and death rates, including causes of death statistics.
  • Life Conference 2019

    The Convention Centre Dublin, Spencer Dock, North Wall Quay, Dublin 1
    20-22 November 2019
    Spaces available

    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.

  • ARC Workshop: Modelling Socio-Economic Differences in English Mortality

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

    Spaces available

    Purpose
    The workshop will give participants detailed insights into how a large and detailed dataset can be used to assess levels of mortality inequality in England, using a number of novel statistical methods. We will also address the question: are regional variations in mortality real or imaginary?

  • Autumn Lecture 2019, London - Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP

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

    Fully booked.

    The IFoA is pleased to announce that this year’s Autumn Lecture will feature the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP as its guest speaker.  Nicky has previously served as Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Women. She now chairs the Treasury Select Committee whose remit is to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of HM Treasury, along with all of its agencies and associated bodies.

  • Autumn Lecture 2019: Live Streaming

    Webinar 
    2 December 2019

    Spaces available

    Watch the live stream of this year's Autumn Lecture with guest speaker Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP. 

  • Behavioural Finance Research Launch- 14 January 2020

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

    Fully booked.

    We are delighted to announce the launch of the findings from our ARC funded Behavioural Finance research with a special evening event at Staple Inn on Tuesday 14th January 2020. Entitled Behavioural Aspects of Institutional Investment Decision-Making, this research programme is being delivered by City, University of London, Leeds University Business School and Ipsos.

    This event is now full. Please register for the waiting list.

  • 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.