The career of an actuary in Ireland will typically progress through many stages:
Most new trainee actuaries entering the actuarial profession have studied a degree in a quantitative field such as actuarial science, maths, statistics or finance. This is unsurprising given the highly quantitative nature of the actuarial profession, where the role revolves around “making financial sense of the future” and using mathematics to solve business problems.
New entrants considering an actuarial career should be mindful of the significant time it takes to get through actuarial exams. You can view the “actuarial travel times” for full Fellowship qualification here, although please note this is for the US, where exams are done via either the Society of Actuaries or the Casualty Actuarial Society. Qualification time is thought to be broadly similar for the UK and Ireland, although in the UK and Ireland trainee actuaries may be able to achieve exemptions from the professional actuarial exams, through their degree qualification. The number of exemptions will depend upon the nature of the degree you undertake. For example, an accredited degree in actuarial science will often allow you to start your actuarial career with exemptions from the initial core exams.
After joining an actuarial company, from university, you will become a junior actuarial trainee. Actuarial trainees will undertake their actuarial exams whilst also working. Most actuarial employers provide new students with a competitive study package that includes time off work to study for their exams. In addition, the experience you gain as an actuarial trainee will often help with your exam study which naturally has a very practical focus.
Whilst the qualification time for the actuarial profession may be considered quite long, one of the attractive things about the profession is the fact that most actuaries are paid well even before they become a fully qualified actuary.
As you gain experience, progress through your actuarial exams and become a more valued team member you will then likely be promoted to a more senior trainee role. This role often involves taking on more responsibility as well as guiding and mentoring new actuarial trainees. One of the main roles of a senior actuarial trainee is peer reviewing work from newer, more junior colleagues. Peer review is a very important part of the work of an actuary as it helps to ensure that the quality of work is of the correct professional standard helping to safeguard against potentially costly poor decision making as a result of the actuarial work being carried out.
Once you complete all of the IFoA professional examinations required to be an actuary you are then eligible to become a Fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. It should be noted that the IFoA actuarial curriculum has recently changed (as of January 2019) which has impacted on the content and naming of the exams required to qualify as an actuary. As a newly qualified actuary your responsibility and opportunities for progressing your actuarial career will likely increase, especially if you plan on moving into a role which requires an actuarial signature (e.g. as a Scheme Actuary for a pension scheme).
- Actuarial Manager
Many actuaries move into a managerial role following qualification. As an actuarial manager you will move likely start to move away from some of the technical work (e.g. actuarial calculations), that you have been undertaking in your career to date, and begin to take a more active role in managing a small team. Many actuarial manager roles will also involve business development and developing a broader view of the running of the company you work for.
- Senior Actuarial Manager
As your skills develop you will then be promoted to a Senior Actuarial Manager with greater responsibility such as managing a larger team or department.
You may eventually progress to become a Chief Actuary – holders of the IFoA’s “Chief Actuary, Non Life with Lloyds” practicing certificate. A Chief Actuary is expected to have a wide range of skills ranging from technical skills to business skills as well as having a strong business acumen, awareness and understanding of the general commercial and economic environment (e.g. regulation, tax, stakeholders etc)
Head of Actuarial Function may be one of the following roles: Head of Reserving, Head of Pricing, Head of Financial Reporting etc.
Many actuaries, especially post Solvency 2, are now moving into Chief Risk Officer (CRO) roles within insurance companies. Actuaries are also undertaking CRO roles outside of insurance as they help to embed and manage Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) programmes within the organisation.
- Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
Some actuaries eventually become a CEO of a firm, the highest ranking executive in a company. A CEO can expect to receive a very high compensation to reflect the critical responsibilities involved, which includes critical decision making, overall management and acting as the main contact with the board of directors.
Demand for actuary jobs in Dublin, Ireland has been driven by a number of factors including the EU Solvency II Directive, Central Bank of Ireland (CBI) requirements which interpret the EU Solvency II Directive, the attractiveness of Ireland as a European base for cross-border insurance companies and a greater understanding of the skill set of actuaries by industries such as Banking, Risk Management and Data Analytics.
Of particular note, Dublin, Ireland now has one of the highest number of actuaries per capita in the world. There are currently four universities (UCD, DCU, QUB and UCC) with actuarial science degree programmes fully accredited by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries. Acumen have placed many of the actuarial students from these degree programmes in actuarial jobs in Dublin and more widely in Ireland over the last number of years. We look forward to finding the right actuarial job for you.
More information on the actuary jobs and actuarial vacancies in Ireland, currently at each level, can be found here.