You are here

Your Actuarial Career: Managing Career Breaks

Thursday 5 December 2019 17:30 - 20:00

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 Rachel Vecht, Women Ahead (International), Lee Faulkner, Financial Wellbeing Actuary, First Actuarial, Emily McGuire, Partner at Aon Hewitt, and Sarah Mathieson, Head of Research and Knowledge, IFoA, to explore the issues around career breaks from the perspective of an employee and an employer. Supported by Ignata Actuarial & Investments

This event is supported by Ignata Actuarial & Investments. 


About the panel

Lee Faulkner

For a British actuary, Lee Faulkner's career has been somewhat unusual. He started out as a student in the mid-1980s working in pensions, but always had an “itch” for working overseas, which is one of the reasons that he chose to be an actuary - its international portability. Just before he qualified, Lee moved to Spain, followed by Mexico and Argentina. As domestic financial collapses seemed to follow him around (Tequila in 1995, Tango in 2001/02) he made a decision to return to the UK in 2005. Getting back into the UK jobs market was very tough, and it took him more than six months to get a job.

In 2011 Lee moved to Hong Kong - the job offer was good, but he also saw Hong Kong, and Asia in general, as a good place for a business idea - online English language learning. Lee set up a business but unfortunately it had to clos due to the difficulty in marketing to schools. Lee returned to the UK, and found the employment market much harder than it should have been, experiencing similar problems as before - knowledge gaps from lack of recent UK experience being an apparently huge disadvantage compared with all the other experience gained.

As Lee says “Actuaries are lousy recruiters of other actuaries - we recruit people who look and smell like we do to fill short-term resource gaps, rather than looking at the wider skill set someone can offer and how that could be useful in the business as a whole. That’s rowing against everything the IFoA is trying to do to widen the appreciation of the actuarial skill set and to get a good footing for our profession in wider fields. If we don’t change our recruitment practices we could mirror-recruit ourselves out of existence.”

Sarah Mathieson

Sarah Mathieson is Head of Research and Knowledge at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA).  As part of the IFoA's Public Affairs and Research Directorate, her team have responsibility for managing the IFoA's commissioned research projects and the Actuarial Research Centre (ARC), as well as managing the publication of the British Actuarial Journal and the Annals of Actuarial Science. The IFoA's library service is also provided by Sarah's team.

A Life Actuary by background, Sarah spent many years working in the Life and Pensions industry in various Life Offices in the UK, Germany and India, before joining the IFoA Executive in 2011. Her experience ranges from the traditional actuarial functions of actuarial reporting and pricing through to corporate finance, sales, marketing, customer service and public policy.  She is a trustee of the IFoA Foundation, the IFoA's new charitable entity. Outside the IFoA, Sarah is a member of the UK Statistics Authority’s Research Accreditation Panel, which has been established under the UK’s Digital Economy Act.

Sarah's career started off with a degree in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics from the University of St Andrews, later followed by an MBA from the University of Edinburgh Business School.  She qualified as a Fellow of the Faculty of Actuaries in 2001. 

Emily McGuire

Emily McGuire is a Partner in the Investment Practice at Aon and has been with the organisation since 1998. She is based in the London office and has leadership responsibility for the UK Defined Benefit Pension Clients.

Emily has a collaborative style and a wealth of experience of working with different clients through periods of change to deliver better outcomes. She has advised clients on a wide range of areas including governance structures, strategic work through to building dedicated hedge fund and private equity portfolios.

Until recently Emily had responsibility for the people strategy in Aon Investments covering recruitment, career development and reward. In that period Emily drove a number of initiatives aimed at recruiting and retaining a more diverse workforce including apprenticeships and returnships.

Emily regularly speaks at conferences on a range of investment topics. Emily is also a member of Aon’s Diversity Council.


Rachel Vecht

Former primary school teacher and parent educator, Rachel has been teaching parents and carers at corporate organisations for almost 20 years. She is a warm and thought-provoking keynote speaker and panellist. Rachel is an expert and leading speaker in how to equip parents, carers and team members in managing the demands of work and family. She is a Moving Ahead speaker on the topics including workplace transition, parenting, caring and flexible working.

She has worked with thousands of individuals, across many organisations and sectors, coaching them in this space.

Rachel was also involved in one of the panels at our recent International Men’s Day Summit and you can watch the video here.


17.30-18.00 Registration and refreshments
18.00-19.30 Programme takes place in the Hall
19.30-20.00 Drinks reception
20.00 Close of event




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

Nearest Public Transport

Chancery Lane Station