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Careers FAQs

  • What qualifications do I need to become an actuary?

    Most employers are looking for graduates with at least a 2.1 degree and excellent A-levels or equivalent.

    The minimum requirements for admission as a student of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries (IFoA) are:

    • Maths A-level (or equivalent) at grade B, together with a second A-level (or equivalent) in any subject at grade C, or
    • three Scottish National Qualifications Authority Higher passes, one of which must be in mathematics at grade A, or
    • the Irish Leaving Certificate in at least five subjects; one of the passes must be in mathematics at grade A,
    • or
    • other qualifications which are considered to be equivalent to the above

    For holders of a second class honours degree or above in a non-mathematical subject, the maths A-level requirement is reduced to a grade C

    For holders of a third class honours or above in a mathematical or actuarial science degree, the maths A-level requirement is dropped.

  • What if I don’t meet the entry requirements?

    There is the option to take some exams as a non-member which will give you the option to see if the maths skills and experience you have is enough to take our exams. If you do take and pass the exam, then you will be eligible to become a member of the profession. However, there are a few things to note before you consider this option:

    • most employers look for students with a minimum 2:1 in a numerate degree and A level maths
    • you will be up against students with 1st or 2nd class numerate degrees who will be exempt from several of the IFoA’s exams
    • each company, especially in the recession, will have raised their entry requirements in order to facilitate the huge number of applicants for each position; if you do not meet the basic requirements it may put you at a disadvantage
    • if you speak to an employer and explain that you have/or are thinking of gaining entry to the profession, this may exempt you from some of their entry requirements. However, please note that this cannot be guaranteed: each company will have its own specific entry requirements.  Employers details can be found in the Directory of Employers.
  • How do I choose my university course?

    Most employers prefer candidates with a numerate degree from a university department with a strong reputation. A numerate degree may also lead to exemptions from some of the profession's exams. Actuarial science degrees, in particular, are likely to carry exemptions.

    You could look at the University League Tables for further information on how the universities you are interested in are rated.

  • Will I benefit from studying a degree in actuarial science?

    Several universities offer undergraduate degrees in actuarial science, which offer exemptions from some or all of the Core Principle subjects examinations.

    The advantages of studying for an actuarial science degree are:

    • it gives you the opportunity to find out more about actuarial work before accepting an actuarial trainee role with an employer
    • if you achieve a sufficiently high standard in the appropriate university exams, then you will be recommended for exemption from the corresponding professional exams
    • if you have an actuarial degree you should be able to qualify more quickly than if you take a course which gives fewer exemptions
    • a higher number of exam passes or exemptions may mean that you receive a higher salary (probably staggered and dependent on future exam success)
    • a degree in actuarial science is an excellent grounding in subjects like economics, finance, mathematics, and statistics, as well as the actuarial subjects. This makes actuarial graduates suitable for a range of careers, not just actuarial work.
  • Will I be at a disadvantage if I am not doing an actuarial science degree?

    There are benefits to studying alternative degrees:

    • non-actuarial degrees enable students to study a greater range of subjects
    • non-actuarial degrees may still lead to exemption from some of the Core Principle subjects
    • some employers are less enthusiastic than others about employing actuarial science graduates, so you may wish to seek the views of your favoured employers
    • experience in the office is at least as important as exam passes. Actuarial graduates should not assume that they will necessarily be paid more than other graduates.
  • What about post-graduate degrees?

    Some post-graduate degrees offer exemptions from Core Principle subjects or Specialist Principles.  These have similar advantages to the actuarial science degrees noted above.

  • What exemptions from the professional examinations will I obtain?

    Some undergraduate and postgraduate degrees offer exemptions from all eight of the Core Principle subjects. Some post-graduate degrees offer exemptions from some examinations  and Specialist Principles.  Visit the University courses with exemptions page to find out more.

  • What happens in a graduate placement?

    Once you have obtained a placement within a firm, you will be able to start to work your way through the exams, eventually gaining the necessary work experience for you to qualify as a Fellow of the IFoA.

    Typically employers give you one day off a week to study, although this is at the discretion of each individual employer. You will be given a study mentor who will be able to support you through the exams. Your salary will normally increase when you pass exams and take on more work and responsibility.

  • How long does it take to qualify?

    In order to qualify as an Associate or Fellow, students must pass a number of examinations and complete a satisfactory period of work experience. The time to qualification will depend upon an individual's progress through the examinations, any exemptions obtained and completion of work experience. To qualify as a Fellow takes, on average, 6-7 years.

  • Will I need to continue training once I have qualified?

    Yes, actuaries are required to maintain their competence once qualified through continuing professional development (CPD).

Contact Details

You can contact the Careers team at:

careers@actuaries.org.uk

Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, 7th Floor Holborn Gate, 326-330 High Holborn, London WC1V 7PP

We aim to respond to all enquiries within five working days.

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Events calendar

  • TIGI 2019 (Technical Issues in General Insurance)

    Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regent's Park, London, NW1 4LE
    25-26 April 2019
    Spaces available

    This General Insurance CPD offering has been changed from former years of individual one day seminars to include individual sessions for IFRS 17, Pricing, Capital Modelling and Reserving over a two-day event  packaged as Technical Issues in General Insurance, providing attendees with a varied program . The event is suitable for anyone who works, or are interested, in these areas.

  • Fully booked.

    Data Visualisation helps to communicate information clearly and effectively through graphical means.  This talk will showcase some visualisations that the working party has found useful for common actuarial situations.  The event is now full, however if you would like to join a waiting list, please email Barry_shannon@standardlife.com

  • Francophone Actuaries Meeting 2019

    Aviva, Saint Helen's, 1 Undershaft, London EC3P 3DQ, UK
    2 May 2019

    Spaces available

    L'Institut des Actuaires and French actuaries in the UK, partnered with Aviva, are delighted to be hosting their annual "l'afterwork" event for French speaking actuaries in the UK. The event will mix French and English interventions.

    Register via this link to be added to the guest list:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rencontre-annuelle-des-actuaires-francophones-londres-tickets-59758941603

     

     

  • Spaces available

    CPD

    CPD
    1.00 hours

    The CMI SAPS Mortality Committee and Mortality Projections Committee will be holding a joint webinar, aimed primarily at pension scheme trustees, describing considerations relating to setting longevity assumptions in 2019.

  • SIAS EVENT - Hurricane Clustering: A New Reality?

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    7 May 2019

    Spaces available

    The 2017 North Atlantic hurricane season was one of the most active on record. We saw multiple hurricanes coming close together causing significant damage and human loss. The talk discusses whether 2017 was an exceptional year or indicative of what we expect to see in the near future, and the implications for (re)insurers.

  • IFoA Asia Conference 2019, Chengdu

    Crowne Plaza Chengdu Panda Garden, Poly Park 198, No. 1980 ShuLong Avenue,Xindu District, Chengdu
    09-10 May 2019
    Spaces available

    IfoA Logo for eventsOffering a diverse selection of plenary sessions and cross-practice workshops, the annual Asia Conference is the perfect opportunity to discover and discuss current and developing actuarial topics in Asia, whilst providing excellent opportunity to grow your network of contacts.

  • DAG event - Can we overcome unconscious bias?

    KPMG LLP  Saltire Court,  20 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh EH1 2EG
    9 May 2019

    Spaces available

    This session will examine our biases, look at what it feels like to be an outsider and give attendees practical tools and actions we can all take to support and grow diversity and inclusion, within the profession. This session is also designed to meet the objectives of the IFoA’s Stage 3 Professional Skills Training for experienced members.

  • KSS event – IQ+EQ = Future Success

    Royal London, 1 Thistle Street, Edinburgh
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    In this interactive session, our facilitators, Russell Borland and Thomas Chalmers, Partners of UK-based coaching consulting firm, Leading Figures, will explore how we can enhance our EQ to make the most of our IQ. They will introduce an Emotional Intelligence framework developed by psychologist Daniel Goleman and provide participants with an opportunity to personally assess their own Emotional Intelligence.  To register please email Caitlin.stronach@royallondon.com

  • CILA 2019

    30 Euston Square, London NW1 2FB
    14 May 2019

    Spaces available

    CILA is one of the pre-eminent events in the annual Life calendar. It is aimed at practicing life actuaries from life offices, consulting firms and other employers of actuaries. It will also be of interest to all those who work in or advise on, the life assurance market in the UK and Europe.

  • KSS event – Bulk Annuity Market Update

    Willis Towers Watson 2 Lochrin Square, 96 Fountainbridge, Edinburgh EH3 9QA
    15 May 2019

    Fully booked.

    This KSS talk will give a bulk annuity market update over 2018 and for 2019 and beyond.  The presenters will also consider bulk annuity options as part of pension scheme de-risking strategies, and how pension schemes can best prepare when requesting a quote in order to achieve a favourable outcome. Please note this event is now full, however, if you wish to join a waiting list, please email Dawn.Neil@willistowerswatson.com.

  • KSS event – Bulk Annuity Market Update

    Willis Towers Watson 2 West Regent Street Glasgow G2 1RW
    16 May 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk will give a bulk annuity market update over 2018 and for 2019 and beyond. The presenters will also consider bulk annuity options as part of pension scheme de-risking strategies, and how pension schemes can best prepare when requesting a quote in order to achieve a favourable outcome. To book a place please email Dawn.Neil@willistowerswatson.com

  • How to protect SMEs from Cyber Attacks

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ.  
    16 May 2019

    Spaces available

    The aim of this interdisciplinary symposium is to gain understanding and awareness of UK private SMEs about their insurance need as a part of cyber risk management and mitigation strategies.

  • Risk and Investment Conference 2019

    Amba Hotel, Charing Cross, Strand, London WC2N 5HX
    20-21 May 2019
    Spaces available

    This year's event begins with a Professional Skills Training plenary to help build your CPD, followed by a formal drinks reception and dinner on the evening of 20 May.  The following day will then be a programme full of topical plenaries and workshops covering the latest trends and topical issues in the risk and investment sector with plenty of opportunities to network with colleagues and build your CPD.

  • LMS Invited Lectures 2019

    ICMS, The Bayes Centre, 47 Potterrow, Edinburgh EH8 9BT
    20 May 2019 - 24 May 2019

    Spaces available

    On May 20-24 2019, Prof Søren Asmussen (Aarhus University) will deliver a course on lectures on advanced topics in life insurance mathematics.  This will be held at the International Centre for Mathematical Sciences, Edinburgh, and will be accompanied by supporting lectures from Prof Corina Constantinescu (University of Liverpool) and Prof Andrew Cairns (Heriot-Watt University). To register, please visit https://www.icms.org.uk/LMSAsmussen.php.

  • Mortality and Longevity Symposium 2019

    ICC Birmingham, Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA
    04-05 June 2019
    Spaces available

    The Mortality and Longevity Symposium aims to expand delegates’ horizons by giving a better view of the scope of current mortality research in a wide variety of relevant disciplines, and by providing a forum to discuss the implications for actuarial practice and it will be of interest to all actuaries concerned with setting or reviewing mortality and longevity assumptions, underwriters, demographers, epidemiologists, policy-

  • Protection, Health and Care Conference 2019

    ICC Birmingham  Broad St, Birmingham B1 2EA
    04-06 June 2019
    Spaces available

    The Protection, Health and Care Conference is an annual conference aimed at all insurance professionals with a passion for harnessing insurance risk in their organisations. The conference uses a combination of workshops by individuals who work at the coalface and ‘big name’ experts to explore how innovation, technological/medical advances, the political landscape and other market development will impact the Protection, Health and Care markets.

  • Pensions Conference 2019

    Bristol Marriott Hotel City Centre, 2 Lower Castle Street, Old Market, Bristol, BS1 3AD
    18-19 June 2019
    Spaces available

    Covering current topics and industry trends, the conference also includes a pre-conference evening dinner (18 June) giving you the opportunity to develop your network. 

  • NED Event: Behavioural Finance and Boards

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    18 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Substantial work has been undertaken in the field of behavioural finance to explore the psychological factors affecting investment decisions made by individuals.  In contrast, “behavioural” factors (such as politics or human psychology) affecting decisions and actions made by institutional investors, such as insurers or pension schemes, are less understood.

  • KSS event – FinTech and The Actuarial Profession

    EY, Atria One, 144 Morrison Street, Edinburgh
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    This KSS talk from FinTech Scotland's CEO will explore the mission to create an integrated Fintech ecosystem through provision of funding, support, infrastructure and talent that recognises and responds to the needs of all stakeholders - and the overarching aim for Scotland to be one of the top 5 Fintech global leaders by 2020.

    To book your place, please email Barry_Shannon@standardlife.com 

  • Current Issues in General Insurance (CIGI) 2019

    Inmarsat, 99 City Road, London, EC1Y 1BJ
    19 June 2019

    Spaces available

    CIGI will provide an excellent and diverse line-up of speakers, each providing their insight and knowledge on a range of topics.  The programme will be broad in nature, so will be of most value to those with some experience in the industry. 

  • AGM and Presidential Address 2019

    The Hub  Castlehill Edinburgh EH1 2NE
    26 June 2019

    Spaces available

    Notice is hereby given that the ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING of the INSTITUTE AND FACULTY OF ACTUARIES will be held at The Hub, Edinburgh on Wednesday 26 June 2019 at 16.30 (Preceded by tea from 16.00) and followed by a PRESIDENTIAL ADDRESS given by John Taylor.

  • SIAS: The Impact of Air Pollution on Health and Life Expectancy

    Staple Inn Hall, High Holborn, London, WC1V 7QJ
    2 July 2019

    Spaces available

    Air pollution has gained increasing attention lately. Nicola Oliver, head of longevity and mortality research for Medical Intelligence, will discuss not only the impacts of air pollution on health and life expectancy but also how as an industry we should be addressing it.

  • GIRO Conference 2019

    EICC, The Exchange, 150 Morrison St, Edinburgh EH3 8EE
    24-26 September 2019
    Spaces available

    GIRO is attended annually by over 800 delegates and speakers who are keen to discuss key topics such as Pricing, Reserving, Modelling and the future of the insurance industry. GIRO 2018 was a huge success and we have opened bookings early for what we hope will be another brilliant conference at the EICC in Edinburgh this year.