Actuaries employ complex mathematics to forecast the likelihood of various occurrences such as accidents, illnesses, consumer demand, and investments. Then, using sophisticated computer tools, they crunch numbers and create tables, graphs, and reports based on their findings. As a result, actuaries are among the most sought-after jobs for math graduates.
Actuaries provide statistical data to insurance executives, marketing managers, underwriters, investment bankers, and pension directors to assist them in making choices about insurance policy pricing, product development/marketing planning, stock offerings, and investment decisions.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- analyse statistics
- forecast finances
- test financial options
- assess risks
- use computers to build mathematical and statistical models
- write reports and presentations
- explain findings to managers, government ministers or business clients.
- Starting salaries for an apprentice is £28,000 per year.
- As a newly qualified actuarial analyst or consultant, you can expect to earn in the region of £40,000 and £55,000. Increments are usually paid for examination success.
- A senior actuarial analyst commonly earns in the region of £70,000, though this can be as high as £110,000. There is a range of salaries for experienced actuaries, but high financial rewards and excellent benefits packages are common.
- Salaries in excess of £200,000 are typical for chiefs, partners or principles.
You will typically work 37 to 39 hours per week.
Expect to put in extra hours, though not necessarily on weekends or shifts. Extended hours are less likely for more junior workers in traditional fields of employment, such as apprenticeships, because they will be devoting more time to preparing for professional tests.
Flexible or part-time work and career breaks may be arranged – but this usually depends on the company and your specific circumstances.
You could work in an office, at a client’s business or remotely.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice actuary include:
- Level 4 Actuarial Technician – Entry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship. This qualification will take 24 months to complete.
On an actuary apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- maths knowledge
- analytical thinking skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- knowledge of economics and accounting
- the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
- the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
- ambition and a desire to succeed
- thinking and reasoning skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently.
Most apprentices begin their careers in the financial services industry, particularly in conventional industries such as insurance and pensions.
This means you’ll probably work for an insurance company or a consultancy firm. You’ll generally start in one region and then move on to another. Insurance employment includes life insurance, medical and health insurance, and general, personal, home, and vehicle insurance.
Daily, employment in a consulting firm will be more varied. You’ll almost certainly work with many clients to address diverse problems. For example, financial consultants provide pensions, risk management, mergers and acquisitions, business recovery, asset management, and liability management.
The kind and size of the firm have an impact on career opportunities. Investigate the businesses included in the Directory of Actuarial Employers to understand the work involved in each subject.
Most new apprentices begin their careers as actuarial trainees or risk analysts while preparing for professional exams. Therefore, it is crucial to choose your ideal work area and apply for open openings.
Apprentice actuaries learn at their own pace, using a mix of distance learning courses and tutorials offered by specialised firms such as the Actuarial Education Company (ActEd). In addition, many companies provide support through mentoring, coaching, study leave, and funding for educational materials. Topics include statistical modelling, economics, financial, and actuarial math. Apprentices must keep up to speed on industry advancements since they often change the content of instructional materials and tests.
Qualification as an associate member of the profession typically takes three to six years. To become an associate member, you must pass examinations, complete a number of practical courses, and exhibit a satisfactory degree of work-based skills. The associate-level certification is worldwide recognised as fulfilling the fundamental prerequisites for becoming an actuary and allows members to use the initials AIA or AFA.
Actuaries who want to further their studies or specialise in a particular actuarial area may take extra specialist examinations to become a fellow, becoming an expert in subjects such as investments, business risk management, pensions, or insurance.
Fellowship qualifying might take anywhere between three and six years. Apprentices who have completed a sufficient level of study in a relevant degree or who have studied actuarial science at the postgraduate level may be exempt from certain assessments. Fellows are recognised as experts in their disciplines and are denoted by the letters FIA or FFA.
After completing their training, actuaries may quickly advance to managerial positions with increased responsibility for project work and team management and mentoring new trainees.
Although an actuary may specialise in one area, such as consulting, investments, life assurance, general insurance, pensions, or reinsurance, it is still possible to change industries later in your career. Some actuaries, for example, leave pension funds to work in investment banks, asset management firms, or large corporations.
Enterprise risk management is a growing field in which experienced actuaries can advance to board-level positions such as chief risk officer.
Actuaries may choose to advance to positions in product development, marketing, and senior sales, where the product’s complexity and the value of the sale necessitate a consultative sales strategy. Specialising in genetics, energy, or climate change is also possible.