Actuaries provide the mathematical and analytical foundations for financial decision-making. They assess risks, based on what has occurred in the past, using statistics and applying probability theory. They then calculate premiums and advise on whether or not a company has sufficient assets to meet its potential and actual liabilities.

  • Graduate trainee
  • Qualified Actuary
  • Senior Actuary

Becoming an actuary is more than being a good number cruncher. You'll have to be good at maths, but you also have to be an innovative thinker and problem solver.

Qualifications required for an actuarial career

This route is open to all graduates, but you must have a minimum of grade B in A level mathematics or equivalent, unless your degree is in mathematics or actuarial science.. Preferred subjects include:

  • Actuarial mathematics
  • Actuarial science
  • Business
  • Economics
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Physical/applied science
  • Statistics

Some employers require specific degree subjects or an MSc in Actuarial Science. It is very unusual for those leaving school to get a job in this field.

To become a professional actuary you must be prepared to study, train and qualify to be a Fellow of either the Faculty of Actuaries (Scotland) or Institute of Actuaries (the rest of the UK). These bodies operate under the joint name of the Actuarial Profession and are of equal status.

Skills and qualities required for actuarial careers

Unlike many other roles in risk, external communication and relationship building skills are not as important. Numeracy is vital, but beyond this you will need to develop the capacity to give expert advice. Often this will involve dealing with non-actuaries and the general public, so the ability to communicate and articulate difficult topics to non-specialists is of paramount importance.