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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

  • Data Science: Opportunities for Actuaries

    The IFoA's first virtual event   
    26 February 2019 - 29 March 2019

    Spaces available

    The IFoA are launching their first virtual conference on the topic of Data Science, that is free to attend. This is an exciting and forward thinking move to reach members all over the world and to share knowledge and discuss developments and techniques within data science.

  • KSS event - FinTech and The Actuarial Profession

    Barnett Waddingham 163 West George Street, Glasgow, G2 2JJ
    20 March 2019

    Fully booked.

    This KSS talk from FinTech Scotland's CEO will explore the mission to create an integrated Fintech ecosystem through provision of funding, support, infrastructure and talent that recognises and responds to the needs of all stakeholders - and the overarching aim for Scotland to be one of the top 5 Fintech global leaders by 2020. The event is now full. However if you wish to join the waiting list, please contact Ji-Hyang.Lee@barnett-waddingham.co.uk

  • IFoA’s Diversity Advisory Group: The Power of Deep Listening

    Aviva, The Agora, Level 2B, St Helens, 1 Undershaft,  London EC3P 3DQ
    21 March 2019

    Spaces available

    8th March is International Women’s Day. The IFoA’s Diversity Advisory Group will be facilitating a session later in March as part of this celebration. Subject to availability. All members are welcomed. Please contact Susan Hunter Jones (susan.hunterjones@aviva.com) to register for the session.

  • WCA event – The cost and value of pensions

    Woolf College Lecture Theatre Canterbury CT2 7BQ
    27 March 2019

    Spaces available

    The cost of pensions is a regular source of debate. But how should pensions be valued? And how has this value changed over times? Paul Sweeting will discuss how these questions can be answered, and their relevance to the current pensions issues.

    To book please email Mark Heller M.Heller@kent.ac.uk

  • SIAS Event: Mortality Improvements Outlook 2019+

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

    Spaces available

    The CMI Mortality Projections Committee will lead a discussion on mortality projections and how they can be modelled in CMI_2018, including:

    • Recent mortality, and how current improvements vary between different population
    • Long-term prospects for mortality improvements
    • The pace of convergence to the long-term rate
  • Webinar – So You Want to be a NED?

    WEBINAR After registration, you will receive an email confirmation with details on how to access the webinar from your PC, laptop, tablet or mobile.
    3 April 2019

    Spaces available

    Are you considering becoming a NED? Join our facilitated webinar where a panel of experienced NEDs will discuss:

    How you can get started • What qualities and skills are needed to be a NED • What learning and development requirements do you need • Where you can find the necessary resources to build your skills • How a NED role can expand your thinking • How it can enrich your working experience and career • The benefits to being a NED

  • UK Bodily Injury Claims Settlement Framework

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

    Spaces available

    Amid significant UK political uncertainty, the bodily injury settlement framework has continued to make progress. At the time of the Ogden discount rate change of early 2017 and throughout that year, Staple Inn was host to a set of events to discuss the changes and the subsequent MOJ review.

  • Professional Skills Training - London (16 April 19)

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    16 April 2019

    Fully booked.

    Please register here to join the wait list

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This 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.

  • TIGI 2019 (Technical Issues in General Insurance)

    Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4LE
    25-26 April 2019
    Spaces available

    This General Insurance CPD offering has been changed from former years of individual one day seminars to include individual sessions for IFRS 17, Pricing, Capital Modelling and Reserving over a two-day event  packaged as Technical Issues in General Insurance, providing attendees with a varied program . The event is suitable for anyone who works, or are interested, in these areas.

  • Professional Skills Training - Edinburgh (30 April 19)

    IFoA (Edinburgh), Level 2, Exchange Crescent 7 Conference Square Edinburgh EH3 8RA
    30 April 2019

    Spaces available

    A 2 hour CPD event designed to meet the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training under the IFoA’s CPD Scheme 2018/2019.  This 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 2019, Chengdu

    Crowne Plaza Chengdu Panda Garden, Poly Park 198, No. 1980 ShuLong Avenue,Xindu District, Chengdu
    09-10 May 2019
    Spaces available

    IfoA Logo for eventsOffering a diverse selection of plenary sessions and cross-practice workshops, the annual Asia Conference is the perfect opportunity to discover and discuss current and developing actuarial topics in Asia, whilst providing excellent opportunity to grow your network of contacts.

  • CILA 2019

    30 Euston Square, London NW1 2FB
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    CILA is one of the pre-eminent events in the annual Life calendar. It is aimed at practicing life actuaries from life offices, consulting firms and other employers of actuaries. It will also be of interest to all those who work in or advise on, the life assurance market in the UK and Europe.

  • KSS event – Bulk Annuity Market Update

    Willis Towers Watson 2 Lochrin Square, 96 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QA
    15 May 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk will give a bulk annuity market update over 2018 and for 2019 and beyond.  The presenters will also consider bulk annuity options as part of pension scheme de-risking strategies, and how pension schemes can best prepare when requesting a quote in order to achieve a favourable outcome. To book please email Dawn.Neil@willistowerswatson.com.

  • KSS event – Bulk Annuity Market Update

    Willis Towers Watson 2 West Regent Street Glasgow G2 1RW
    16 May 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk will give a bulk annuity market update over 2018 and for 2019 and beyond. The presenters will also consider bulk annuity options as part of pension scheme de-risking strategies, and how pension schemes can best prepare when requesting a quote in order to achieve a favourable outcome. To book a place please email Dawn.Neil@willistowerswatson.com

  • Risk and Investment Conference 2019

    Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, Strand, London WC2N 5HX
    20-21 May 2019
    Spaces available

    This year's Risk and Investment Conference will be taking place at Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, London.

    To book your place click here.

     

  • Sessional Research Event - Saving for Retirement: Rules of Thumb

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn London WC1V 7QJ
    20 May 2019

    Spaces available

    How much does the average person need to save over a full working life to provide a decent retirement income? We call this the Lifetime Pension Contribution (LPC) and have attempted to quantify it.

  • NED Event: Behavioural Finance and Boards

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    18 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Substantial work has been undertaken in the field of behavioural finance to explore the psychological factors affecting investment decisions made by individuals.  In contrast, “behavioural” factors (such as politics or human psychology) affecting decisions and actions made by institutional investors, such as insurers or pension schemes, are less understood.

  • Pensions Conference 2019

    Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre, 2 Lower Castle Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS1 3AD
    18-19 June 2019
    Spaces available

    Covering current topics and industry trends, the conference also includes a pre-conference evening dinner (18 June) giving you the opportunity to develop your network. 

  • Current Issues in General Insurance (CIGI) 2019

    Inmarsat, 99 City Road, London, EC1Y 1BJ
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    CIGI will provide an excellent and diverse line-up of speakers, each providing their insight and knowledge on a range of topics.  The programme will be broad in nature, so will be of most value to those with some experience in the industry.