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What is an actuary?

If you really love maths and want a rewarding career where you can really make a difference, the actuarial profession is for you!

Here we help you understand what an actuary is, what they do, where they work and why you should consider becoming an actuary.

What is an actuary?

Actuaries are problem solvers and strategic thinkers, who use their mathematical skills to help measure the probability and risk of future events. They use these skills to predict the financial impact of these events on a business and their clients.

Business and government increasingly depend on the skills of actuaries and analysts to help them model and plan for the future. As the world changes at an increasingly rapid pace, risk management expertise can help businesses navigate this evolving landscape. Discover your strengths and find out if you could become an actuary in our online personality quiz.

What is an Actuary? Watch our members explain!

What does an actuary do?

Actuaries possess a unique mix of mathematical, analytical, communication and management skills. They apply their abilities to create social impact, inform high-level strategic decisions and have a significant impact on legislation, businesses and peoples' lives.  

Actuaries are creative, curious and adaptable and it’s this learning mindset that helps them succeed in the digital age. Actuaries’ unique combination of technical skills and professional acumen ensure they will continue to make a difference, guarding against the impacts of future uncertainty.

Find out more about where the actuarial profession can take you in our blog What actuaries actually do.

John Townhill, Actuarial Consultant at Barnett Waddingham, discusses some misinterpretations of becoming an actuary.

 

I enjoy my job, in fact, I love my job! I first heard about the actuarial profession from my A level Mathematics teacher. He described it as “… the perfect career for maths lovers!

Prudence Maseko

 

Where do actuaries work? 

Although actuaries are often associated with traditional fields such as life, pensions and insurance, there are an increasing number of actuaries moving into a hold range of new areas. Health, banking and finance, technology and climate change are just some of the areas where you can now find actuaries. 

The rise of artificial intelligence and data science are challenging actuaries to think differently and are creating new opportunities that previously never existed. Whether you work in in-house within an organisation or in a consultancy firm supporting different clients, you will enjoy a financially rewarding career where can grow, develop and be challenged.

Take a look at our Employer Directory to discover more about where actuaries work.

Chloe Hung, Amazon best-selling author, talks about some of the traditional and new industries you could work in as an actuary.

What does the future hold for actuaries?

Why should you become an actuary?

Being an actuary means having the opportunity to apply highly valued mathematical skills and expertise in a diverse, exciting and challenging career that really makes a difference. Your hard work is rewarded with a highly competitive salary and a good work/life balance in comparison to similarly paid professions in the financial services, such as investment banking.

Find out how the actuarial profession compares to other career paths

As a member of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) you will be part of a globally recognised profession. Our qualifications are internationally-recognised and will enable you to work in many countries around the world. The IFoA also has Mutual Recognition Agreements with overseas actuarial professional bodies, so once you  have qualified, it is often easy to transfer to another professional body. 

Find out how you can become an actuary.

Get the latest news

Stay up-to-date with the latest news, activities and events to support you in your first steps in your actuarial career

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Events calendar

  • The Growth Mindset for Actuaries

    13 October 2021 - 8 December 2021

    Fully booked.

    This practical course is aimed at actuaries at any stage of their career who want to develop their own growth mindset and apply it to their work setting and personal or professional lifelong learning. The content of the course builds on the lecture given by Dr Helen Wright on Growth Mindset as part of the President’s 2021 Lecture series, and will be delivered over a period of 2 months, from mid-October to early December.

  • Spaces available

    The importance of biodiversity for finance, business and policy is being increasingly recognised. While many studies highlight the overall economic impact that biodiversity loss could have, it is much more difficult to quantify and understand the particular impact that is may have on individual businesses or communities. The management and measurement of these risks is a field where actuaries are well placed to contribute.

  • Spaces available

    The climate crisis and the degradation of our planet will affect societies everywhere. How we address these threats will require solutions that transcend borders. As a global profession, the actuarial community is well-placed to consider and propose effective risk management solutions to help manage the climate crisis.

  • GIRO 2021 Webinar Series

    Online
    8 November 2021 - 19 November 2021
    Spaces available

    Join leading experts to discuss key issues, emerging ideas and new research across the general insurance sector.

  • Spaces available

    This is a free webinar with an expert panel providing their views on the ongoing IFoA consultation for proposals regarding changes to the regulatory framework on climate change and sustainability.

    The regulatory consultation sets out, for feedback some proposed approaches that the IFoA are considering in relation to charter commitments under the UK’s Green Finance Education Charter (GFEC) and the regulatory framework, including the Actuaries’ Code.

  • Life 2021 Webinar Series

    Online
    22 November 2021 - 26 November 2021
    Spaces available

    Join leading experts to discuss key issues, emerging ideas, and new research across the Life insurance sector.

  • Spaces available

    Content will be aimed at all actuaries looking to understand the issues surrounding mental health in insurance and in particular those looking to ensure products and processes widen access for, and are most useful to, those experiencing periods of poor mental health.