What is an Actuary?

Do you watch the pounds and pence when you’re spending your cash? Would you say it’s better in life to look before you leap? Do you ever think about the risks involved in doing something new (as well as enjoying the satisfaction when it all works out)? As an actuary, you’ll help businesses and governments to make BIG financial decisions... so looking before you leap is important!

As an actuary you’ll use your sleuthing skills in economics, stats and maths to figure out what’s likely to happen if a business decision goes ahead, and spotting what could go wrong. This is known as probability and risk!

One of the best bits? By helping organisations make good decisions and plan wisely for the future, you’ll be able to say that at least part of their success was down to you!

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What does an Actuary do?

As an actuary you will normally:

  • Figure out how likely it is for future events – good and bad – to happen, based on your business knowledge and logical skills
  • See how much it would cost to insure something, based on the probability of something bad happening (for example, it’s unlikely for a company to get swallowed up by a volcano, so insurance costs would be low – unless the company has its base on Volcano Island). You’ll be working as a tag-team with accountants to find out things like insurance costs
  • Work out that who’d be affected by bad events if they happen, and how much it would cost to fix it.

See the full job description and ways to get started.

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What skills are important?

  • Finance

    Need help?
    Recommended: 100%
  • Mathematics

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    Recommended: 100%
  • Analytical thinking

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    Recommended: 96%
  • Sitting most of the time

    Need help?
    Recommended: 95%
  • Working indoors all the time

    Need help?
    Recommended: 93%
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How much could I earn?

Average salary


Example: Actuaries, economists and statisticians, 2013

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How to become an Actuary

To become an actuary, you will need:

  • To enjoy following the news
  • An interest in how big companies work
  • A passion for number-crunching
  • A maths-related degree, 320 UCAS points and GCSE maths and English
  • To study for further qualifications
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