Are you looking for information on an actuarial salary survey? Most people that have heard of an actuary will probably tell you that actuaries get paid really well. If you Google “actuary salary” or “how much do actuaries get paid” you will likely hear more of the same. But how much do actuaries really get paid?

In this article, we examine aspects of an actuary’s salary and highlight our own Acumen Resources actuarial salary survey, which we have been running for a number of years now.

Whilst actuaries are well known for working in a highly paid lucrative field, actuarial salaries are, of course, driven by supply and demand factors. Traditionally the actuarial profession has had strong demand and reasonably limited supply (e.g. due to the lengthy exam process and difficulty in qualifying). These factors have combined to make an actuarial career a highly desirable option from a financial perspective.

Actuarial Salary Progression

actuarial salary progression

Student actuaries, in Ireland, can expect a starting salary in excess of 30,000 euros. Of course, there is much variation and the precise starting salary for new trainee actuaries will depend upon factors such as location, type of work, size of the company and the number of actuarial exemptions. As student actuaries progress in their exams and gain experience the salary can rise quickly. For example, a newly qualified actuary can expect to have a salary in excess of 65,000 euros, again depending on factors such as experience, practice area, location etc. Actuarial employees will also typically have other supplementary benefits such as a pension (with protection benefits), an annual bonus and possibly a car allowance.

These figures are comparable to actuarial salary figures in the UK, according to the Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2020 Guide (shown below).

UK Actuarial Salaries
Seniority Level Average Salary
Actuarial Graduate £29,143
Actuarial Analyst £36,643
Senior Actuarial Analyst £54,929
Manager £68,786
Senior Manager £90,714
Director £138,143
Chief Actuary £156,571
Chief Risk Officer (actuary) £189,857
Associate Partner £202,429
Partner £298,000

Source: Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends 2020 Guide – published by Actuarial Careers

Once qualified, actuarial salaries can rise to very high levels with the most senior positions (e.g. Chief Actuary or Senior Partner) potentially earning over 200,000 euros.

There are a few additional points worth thinking about when examining actuarial salaries.

Firstly, it is difficult to make a comparison between professional salaries without fully understanding other factors such as working conditions (e.g., work from home opportunities), work life balance, bonus incentives and support such as study packages etc. Most companies employing actuaries will provide some level of bonus and study support to help you get through your actuarial exams in the early part of your actuarial career. Also, the actuarial profession is known to have a good work life balance compared to other careers where a 6 figure salary is the norm. Of course these factors vary a lot between different practice areas (e.g., consulting is likely to have longer working hours, but also probably higher bonuses), location (London for example, would typically command the highest actuarial salaries in the UK and Dublin the highest in Ireland) and companies.

Secondly, at the time of writing (April, 2022) we are in the midst of an unprecedented increase in inflation across the globe. To what extent salaries will keep up with this inflation remains to be seen, but it is very clear that the purchasing power of a lot of current salaries is being eroded very quickly right now.

Actuarial Contract roles

actuarial contractMany actuaries work in actuarial contracting roles enticed by the flexibility and enhanced actuarial salaries that are often available. Contracting involves performing a role for a defined period and not being paid via payroll as an employee of the company but charging a daily rate typically as a limited company actuarial consultant.

Actuarial contracting has become more of an option for employees to consider than it has in the past. The daily actuarial salary rates on offer are attractive (they can be up to 50% above an employee’s salary) and they entice people out of permanent roles.

The effect, on actuarial salaries, is three-fold:

  1. creating a vacancy that is filled by recruiting a new external employee to fill the role at a higher rate than the previous incumbent
  2. dissemination of market knowledge (or gossip) of what contractors can earn enticing more people to leave permanent roles and
  3. an employee being offered a higher remuneration to stay rather than accept a contract elsewhere.

Ireland Actuarial Salary Survey

actuarial salary surveyAcumen Resources have been undertaking an annual actuarial salary survey, for actuaries located in Ireland, for the last 20+ years. Over this time, we have been reliably providing actuarial companies in Ireland with in-depth information and detailed analysis on a wide range of actuarial salary metrics. Companies taking part in our annual actuarial salary survey have found the information to be beneficial to understand how their remuneration packages compare to the market across many areas.

Having been in the actuarial recruitment business for over 25 years Acumen have an unrivalled insight into actuarial compensation. We have in-depth knowledge of actuarial salary trends and challenges facing companies employing actuaries in Ireland. Companies employing actuaries in Ireland have valued the information we provide as well as being able to speak with Acumen for further explanation and market insights.

We are also offering a much more detailed and bespoke salary survey report that goes into even greater depth. This new report can provide companies, interested in more bespoke analysis, with even greater insight into Irish actuarial salaries.

If you have not yet taken part in our annual actuarial salary and would like to do so or you have previously taken part in the salary survey, but are now interested in more detailed information please contact us today.