Graduate Job Profile - Actuary

Actuaries assess financial risks using their knowledge of economics, statistics, accounting and business law and practice. They deal with pensions, life assurance and other business decisions where major risks are involved.

Actuaries use computers to analyse statistical and mathematical models to predict the financial outcomes of different scenarios. The results from this analysis are used to calculate insurance rates so that these companies have enough funds to cover any liabilities.

Actuaries work for independent consultancies or the Government Actuary's Department, advising on social security, state pensions and public sector pensions. As an actuary you will have a lot of contact with other professionals including accountants, solicitors, company secretaries, underwriters and investment managers.

The majority of people becoming actuaries have a degree in a mathematical subject or actuarial science. A first or second-class degree in any subject is acceptable, as long as you have A level/H grade Mathematics. 50% of actuaries work in insurance or life assurance companies. A growing number work for independent consultancies, in investment banking, the Stock Exchange, industry and commerce, education, insurance, pension broking and the Government Actuary's Department.

In larger companies promotion to a management position is possible soon after qualifying. Self-employed consultancy or work overseas is also a possibility. Graduates with a degree can earn £21,000 a year. A qualified actuary may earn in excess of £35,000 and senior management positions in large companies could earn over £100,000. Other bonuses may include a non-contributory pension, free health insurance, low-interest loans and a company car.

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