Actuarial Stereotype Breaker

Are those souls in the actuarial profession doomed to work alone, with only their computer programmes for company?  Do they just churn through piles of the same tasks day after day? And is this area purely reserved for the very best maths boffins?

What do actuaries actually do?

Many actuaries do indeed conduct very complex numerate work. Statistical modelling, financial mathematics and a keen understanding of the appropriate markets are essential tools and focuses in the role. They are predicting the probabilities of future eventualities – no easy feat! They do use a number of very sophisticated programmes to help them…

However, actuaries aren’t just taken out of their box when they are needed and then quickly stashed away in the corner. They form integral parts of management meetings and consultancy teams. Actuarial knowledge is becoming increasingly important for managers across departments within investment banks, fund schemes and pension and insurance companies. This means it’s also important for them to be great at organisation and communicating their findings to their colleagues and clients.

Love Actuary…

All those numbers…is being an actuary a little on the dull side? Well, the actuarial industry itself is actually rather varied: each client is unique and the considerations for an actuary’s work will have to fit each individual case.

It’s common for actuaries to develop a specialist area in their career. For example, if they work in insurance then they may choose to focus on life insurance issues, or perhaps on pensions. But it’s not restricted to insurance and reinsurance alone; some actuaries will specialise in banking or even government work, and professional service firms are big employers of actuaries, so you could be working for a huge range of different clients in this case.

Professional services firms, banks and insurance/reinsurance companies who employ actuaries are also renowned for their cultures of having many different social events for employees to get involved with, so there’s certainly a work-life balance to be had!

Entry is nearly always at graduate level, and employers do look for the very best numerate minds out there; the figures and probabilities actuaries come up with are vitally important for businesses when they shape their business plans, and investment strategy, and their overall services. They need to get it right, or else businesses could stand a very real chance of losing their customers, and themselves, a lot of money.

And as for the money…

It can be easy to underestimate the earning power of an actuary too. Graduates start on very good salaries (around £30,000 to £40,000) and senior roles in the City can easily rocket above the £100,000 mark!