Job Description:

Actuaries work with companies and government departments, to help them forecast long-term financial costs and investment risks.

Job Category:
Financial Services

What you will do:

You could work in:

  • life assurance, insurance or pensions, designing policies
  • consultancy, advising clients on financial risk
  • the Government Actuary’s Department, advising on the cost of welfare and healthcare

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • analysing statistics
  • forecasting finances
  • testing financial options
  • assessing risks
  • using computers to build mathematical and statistical models
  • explaining findings to managers, government ministers or business clients


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of maths & statistics
  • knowledge of economics and accounting
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages confidently

As well as:

  • analytical thinking skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • the ability to use your judgement and make decisions
  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • the ability to research, analyse and interpret data
  • excellent communication and presentation skills
  • problem-solving skills


Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

In the UK, you’ll need to join the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) as a student member. You’ll then study for professional exams while you work as a trainee actuary.

To join the IFoA you’ll usually need a degree in maths or a related subject, like:

  • actuarial science
  • economics
  • physics
  • engineering
  • accounting
  • statistics

Experience in an actuarial department could help you find a trainee position.

You could also enter this career from a related profession, like risk management, financial services or business analysis.

School Subjects

To become an Actuary in the UK, specific GCSE subjects are not mandatory, but certain subjects can be beneficial in developing the skills and knowledge required for this profession, such as:

  1. Mathematics: Strong mathematical skills are essential for actuaries, as they use advanced mathematical and statistical models to analyze data and make financial predictions.
  2. Further Mathematics: If available at your school, taking Further Mathematics can provide a deeper understanding of advanced mathematical concepts, which is valuable for actuarial work.
  3. Economics: Studying economics can help in understanding financial markets, economic principles, and their impact on risk assessment.
  4. Business Studies: Knowledge of business principles and financial management can be beneficial in actuarial work related to corporate finance.
  5. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Knowledge of ICT can be helpful for data analysis, modeling, and using actuarial software.
  6. Physics: While not directly related to actuarial work, studying physics can develop problem-solving skills and logical thinking, which are valuable in the field.

Working Hours and Environment:

You’ll usually work 35 to 40 hours, Monday to Friday. Trainee actuaries usually spend around 15 hours a week studying while working.

You’ll work in an office, but you’ll often need to travel to visit your clients, sometimes overseas.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could become a department manager and then a partner with a financial firm.

You could also specialise in a particular field, like life insurance or healthcare, or move into consultancy work, accountancy or banking.