Actuarial work vs other career paths


If your child has the right academic skills and personality traits to become an actuary, there are many potential career options for their future. A self-driven student with an eye for analysing data could potentially become a doctor, engineer, or even a scientist. So why would they decide to become an actuary?

Though there are a variety of career paths to choose from, it is important not to discount the advantages of a life in the actuarial science profession that make it an attractive career option. If your child is at a crossroads and is not sure which path to take, we’ve listed the benefits of becoming an actuary to help you guide them.

Financially rewarding

Though your wallet probably shouldn’t always be your first concern when deciding which career to pursue, as you still need to enjoy what you do, most actuaries enjoy a financially rewarding career. Starting salaries for graduates in the UK are around £32,000 and increase as you rise in seniority, so the wage of an actuary can truly stand up with the best of other industries.

Good work/life balance

One of the most appealing aspects of the actuarial science profession is that many actuaries can enjoy a healthy work-life balance compared to other high-powered jobs. Often in other well-paid roles, professionals are expected to manage a high workload, late nights in the office, and are pressured to make work the centre of their world.

Of course, actuaries may be required to work extended hours from time-to-time in order to meet project deadlines. However, for the most part, actuaries are able to enjoy an active thriving social life outside of the work environment.

A respected profession

After working so hard to make the grade it will reassure students that they will be going into a well-respected profession if they choose to pursue a career as an actuary. Actuaries can find themselves working for multinational companies and governments, making decisions that will eventually have a huge effect on people’s lives. It is a reminder that actuaries are a vital part of the economy and not just number crunchers.

Job security

By completing education and training in new and relevant skillsets, actuaries are increasingly able to work in a range of new, diverse and exciting fields. These skillsets, which relate to digital technology, social platforms, behavioural science and innovation, give actuaries a great deal of versatility and ensure they are able to adapt to a changing world and an evolving industry.

Though, technology has made data collection and analysis much faster, it has not impacted the need for real actuaries to do their job. Technology has highlighted why actuaries are so important as a computer can only do half the job. An actuary is still needed to interpret the data and apply their own strategic mindset to create workable insights that can be applied to a business setting.

Unique skill

After a few years some roles can feel monotonous if you are unable to progress into new areas of interest. Actuaries possess a highly sought after, unique skillset as data analysts, strategic thinkers, and problem solvers. There are many emerging industries (such as ride sharing apps, cyber security, and drone companies) as well as established industries (such as animal agriculture and road safety departments) that need someone to make sense of the mountains of data they have. As data analysis skills will continue to be in high demand in the future, many actuaries will find there is the opportunity to move into a variety of different industries.

Mentally stimulating

Not every job can honestly claim to be mentally stimulating but an actuarial career certainly can. Actuaries are constantly on the hunt for new ways to approach information and data as part of their job as problem solvers. As every day brings new challenges and new problems to solve, the working life of an actuary is rarely dull. Actuaries also benefit from working in a team often with supportive colleagues who can help each other with difficult decisions.